FOR those who turned up at Mad Hatters on Saturday night to indulge in a bit of nostalgia, there was an added bonus.
TALKING POINT may have had their glory days on the Inverness scene – billed above The Proclaimers – in the mid-80s.
But Saturday’s show wasn’t about all their yesterdays.
Increasingly as the set went on, the band metaphorically yawned, stretched and came alive in the space of a couple of songs and became an enticing prospect for any music bill of 2013.
Watching singer Bonnie McColl relax into her frontwoman role was a joy – though the relaxing part took a little while.
Not that you would have guessed from the quality of her vocal, a voice that you could listen to all day – particularly in the more country-edged songs.
Guess the clue came when she popped on her stetson-style hat!
But maybe the closest the set truly came to country was new song On My Mind.
Kevin Barnett’s dirty blues guitar on Crybaby and in new song Days (one of my favourites in the set) meant you had to keep your ears listening closely, genrewise, taking nothing for granted.
Everything from the indie pop of the 80s to pure out-and-out rock were in there too with Tom Petty cover Refugee adding country-rock.
Talking Point’s lyrics are often world-weary, as in No Love: "Where is the love you promised me?/ ... your love keeps bringing me down".
Loser with its big weeping guitar solo backed up the song’s sense of frustration: "Looking for a way out/ A little understanding is all I’m looking for".
But Days perfectly suited the Chrissie Hynde and Stevie Nicks emotional shudder in Bonnie’s voice as she started off the song in her powerful low register.
The lyrics paint a picture of someone struggling to get through the week, stuffling to resist temptation: "I cannot see a way of making it through/ Guide me/ No, I don’t want to fall in love with you ..."
It was only about then in the set, possibly in Problem Child that came just before, that you felt Bonnie begin to really flex her voice, add some real attitude and start to enjoy herself.
We already were long since.
Having spent the whole set struggling to pinpoint just who her voice reminded you of, you felt pretty proud when you finally came up with Hinde and Nicks.
But later on their own Reverbnation page, you discover the band have already worked out the Fleetwood Mac/ Pretenders connections for themselves.
With ears that well-tuned to their own sound, the ability to flesh out and update their songs – and adding nice touches like Joe MacRae’s lovely bass intro in Taking It Back – not to mention the discreet backing vocals and varied, changing pace of the set-order, these veterans more than earn their place on a 21st century stage.