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It was an icy night. On another night I may have walked down some steps, slipped, broken my back or cracked the back of my head on some concrete, and missed the Day of the Dead Spectacle that occurred in the Ironworks Venue on Friday. I didn’t fall though. If I had, fate had it covered, another fella has also reviewed DoTD having attended it in an entirely unrelated capacity to myself.
This gives us two separate independent reviews of the night from two different perspectives. We want more of this going forward, as person 1 reviewing may have an entirely different night and experience from person 2, so it’s good to have two stories. The other one is here
I stopped in at the market bar prior to hitting the Ironworks, where I was kindly greeted with a beverage waiting for me. Had a good couple blethers with good couple of friends there over a number of subjects, plans, ideas, the future, nonsense, the rat race, and the fantastic and meticulously arranged fairy lights that were all over the bar and walls – although it is still bloody November. No sign of tinsel though, so in my book that’s acceptable.
MIR was to be playing at the Market, whom I quite fancied seeing, but I’d got free tickets to the Ironworks thing, and as it was sold out, and was potentially a one off, it would have been rude not to go
Not really knowing what I was going to be faced with for the Day of the Dead event, anyone popping in was a potential candidate as a performer, having just chosen the market as a pre-event drink location. A lass came into the bar, took her trousers off to reveal stripy stockings/tights – was she to be an acrobat in the event I was going to see?
Was the Jeremy Corbyn doppelganger in the corner going to be part of the live act. Wait, he’s putting on a leather flat cap and leather or PVC jacket – is he a BDSM Jeremy Corbyn special guest. Was he going to be in a cage with an angle-grinder on his crotch?
For context, here’s the promotional video that the organizers had circulating.
So a gimped up public figure wasn’t impossible.
At this point I was a bit concerned, my usual method for taking notes for events is an electronic notepad type affair, and it was very much not charged, so all my writing was being done on a couple sheets of A4 paper, all over the place looking like a tribute to a spider trailing congealed blood out of three of it’s eight legs.
The paper was folded too so all notes were like old (bad) university notes, the fear of it looking like incoherent ramblings with no context at the end of the night was real. I’m bad for not using the lines. But the review is here, so it must’ve turned out ok.
Trundling off down Church Street, then through Academy Street, I made my way to the Ironworks. There were plenty of folk dressed up in the spirit of the whole affair, similar to the Colonel Mustard event, where there were banana’s everywhere.
It had crossed my mind that DOTD had a similar trait to some of the other UK wide events floating about on facebook, which gave me some concerns. Occasions where events have been advertised over a bunch of locations around the UK, then the actual venues have been retrospectively added.
There was an Octoberfest beer festival that was meant to be held in the Ironworks, but got canceled, either due to poor ticket sales, or due to the fact a few photos had been circulating from the first couple attempts at it being hosted. That event was advertised as a Hanoverian extravaganza, with high spirits, fine beers in litre glasses and traditional dress.
In Leeds for example, it looked nothing like as was originally advertised, and more resembled the 1980’s fairy washing up adverts with a long row of cloth covered tables, with a few depressed people at the foot of the table sharing a ‘world beers’ Christmas multipack.
I was concerned that DOTD was going to be a similar washout.
There’s another couple events coming up in the same vein – RIO themed party event, and a Balls and Prosecco night (that could be one of two very different type of events, I’m guessing it’s the tamer of the two possibilities).
.These concern the old cynical wench that I am. But DOTD wasn’t cancelled, it sold out, and was happening, so here we go.
This is word for word how the event was advertised, so fairly easy to compare what’s promised with what happened. I’ve emboldened what was said to be offered:
Day of the Dead comes to Inverness
🎉 Europe’s largest confetti cannons 🎉
💀 Skull face painting 💀
🕺 World renowned circus acrobats 🕺
🔥 Stage flames & fire breathing show performers 🔥
It’s time for Dia De Muertos – Day of the Dead! In the last few years, Day of the Dead has exploded in popularity and this year we’ve decided to go MASSIVE. Think carnival atmosphere, candy skulls all over the place, and real Latin American flair!
We’ve gone all out on providing an authentic Dia De Muertos experience for you: expect world-renowned aerial acrobats, theatrical circus performers, and professional Latin dancers performing throughout the night!
Day of the Dead just wouldn’t be the same without great music, and we’repushing the boat out this year with live percussionist performances and a host of international DJs. Combined with Europe’s largest confetti cannons and CO2 guns, pyrotechnics and fire breathers, Day of the Dead is set to be the most insane spectacle of the year!
There will be plenty of opportunities for you to get involved with the Day of the Dead festivities – professional film makeup artists will be running a candy skull face painting station, and huge piñatas will be scattered around that will need teams of you to break open!
Make sure you don’t miss out on this year’s most spectacular event – Day of the Dead!
I got in in a timely manner, pretty much as doors opened, and it didn’t take too long to get in, everyone was of a cheery disposition, and my word, more people had gone to town on makeup and attire appropriate for the theme. Hats off to everyone. There was a giant maleficent on stilts, mingling with the crowd spilling through the door. In fairness, it was someone on stilts, they weren’t actually a giant, but you get the point. White contact lenses in too.
One of the first things I clocked as you came in was one of the advertised offerings, professional face painting. So I joined the queue, this was about 10pm, so the queue, spoke to a few folk in the queue, for a while.
Fast forward an hour and a half, and one of the two face painters was packing up to go home. I got to sit down at that point to get my stuff done. Wait, back up – AN HOUR AND A HALF! To queue for face paints. They could have done with two more artists here. Maths says if the queue grows for half an hour, then it takes an hour and a half to catch up with that, then you half the number of facepainters, there’s something bloody wrong.
The output in terms of quality from the painters was top notch though, they took their time, and were professional, but under-resourced. They could have done kid style quick facepaints, but that would have been dire. It would have cheapened the event and you’d’ve ended up with 400 spidermen wandering around.
The event was a sell out, Ironworks capacity standing is 1000 with the balcony open. It wasn’t so crude maths says, what 750 tickets sold. Two face painters is not enough.
So I missed an hour and a half of the show to allow for a fair review of the skull painting. I was with folk though, so they were able to fill me in for the bit of time out of the five hours I was there.
There was a recurring theme with the whole event in terms of what the organisers outlaid.
The promo video showed cages, circular saws leather and such like.
There were no cages, there was a scaffolding swing with a hoop attached to it. Periodically throughout the night it was used by one of the poor three performers, who covered the shared roles of circus performers, Latin dancers, and acrobats. There wasn’t often that the three of them were on stage together, the male of the group’s main forte was fire poi, and fire breathing which he was very good at. The two girls did a mix of the rest.
The acrobatics, and circus performing was one and the same thing, swinging in the hoop, that kept looking like it was going to fall over, it reminded me of one of those 1970s/1980’s flatpack garden swings that you could get out of the Index/Argos catalogue or Littlewoods/Woolworths, but without the final steps of properly securing it to the stage. It may have been, but it was wobbly enough that your attention was drawn to it.
Pyrotechnics and fire breathers. Pyrotechnics implies to me, sparks and stuff coming off the stage, so it was just fire breathers. It’s like saying fire and breathers as an act. It was one and the same – furthermore, this could just have been put across as circus performers. But then, where were the clowns? (Joking, but you get the point)
This goes for the professional Latin dancers too, that was the same three poor people. Working time directive surely has an impact on the poor sods, one of the girls looked like she was questioning her life decisions, or dying of dehydration by half way through the night.
Internationally renowned DJs – if they he was (again, it was one guy all night) then they kept his name a secret, and restricted his music choices to safe club music, rather than Mexican themed music. It was pleasant enough for the crowd, but with songs like “shout out to my ex” by Little Mix coming on, again it wasn’t really what was advertised. If he was technically ticking the international box, he may have been from outside of the UK, but he was far back, so it was hard to tell.
Piñatas, there were meant to be giant Piñatas – not a bunch of empty ones that you buy for £1.99 from Tesco (or Tescos, if you’re from Inverness – why people, why, there’s no S at the end!) We didn’t even get to destroy them, perhaps a health and safety issue for the venue, or perhaps a lack of confectionery I did get a bag of Haribo sweets thrown at me later in the night though, so maybe that’s a technical win for the organisers. (Or just a big bag of nope!)
Percussionists, I’m just calling this out as bollocks. There were no percussionists. Confetti and CO2 cannons were also lacking, and the atmosphere was brought by the crowd, not the event. Though the event brought the crowd, so go figure.
There may have been confetti cannons in the last half hour (I left then, along with half the crowd, so it’s entirely possible they finished with a big bang), but you’d’ve expected them to present on the stage.
In fact. Lets think about this. Europe’s largest confetti cannon. I used the power of the internet, and found this. This is from Bestival, this year. Bestival is a festival in England, in the UK, in Europe. So if the venue organisers were true to their word, they had multiple cannons larger than the one in the video below.
They didn’t. That would have been in the venue and obvious. You’d still have cleaners cleaning up the confetti today.
So, from the point of view of was it as advertised. No.
That being said, anyone I spoke to enjoyed being out. A fairer advert for the event would have been; do you remember the nightclub from Inverness of old called Blue. Do you remember Gs. If you took the two and mashed them together, removed the drugs, and leaned slightly closer to Blue’s music than Gs, what do you get? Day of The Dead comes to Inverness.
The night was a success for the promoters, they must have been rolling in it. People enjoyed it. But it was a wasted opportunity to do something really quite cool and spectacular. An opportunity missed. You didn’t go? You missed nothing. It was a nightclub event with very little of note. Soz.
Day of the beige.
Next up, a taste of RIO comes to Inverness in April.