Vladimir / The New Fabian Society / Edinburgh School for the Deaf / The Shithawks – The Cool Cat Club, Beat Generator Live, Dundee – 23rd March 2013
Last night’s Vladimir EP launch provided more surprises than I might have anticipated – starting with the headliners.
Even from 6 months ago, the Vlad boys have radically overhauled the set and play nothing from the first EP – even previous showstopper ‘Mellow’.
Instead the focus is very much on new material – and that’s surprise number two. Because whilst it’s undoubtedly recognisable as Vladimir, there’s much more an air of new possibilities being explored. The material on the whole tends to be faster with more room for light and shade. Principally that seems to be because Peter has shifted from an overload of effects on his guitar to playing more melodic lines and, even if Ross joins in on guitar on most of the new tunes to fill out the sound, everything’s a little less dense than of old.
Great as the old songs were, this new batch is perhaps more accessible and therefore better geared to spreading the word. 2013 looks like being a fascinating year for Vladimir.
The only surprise about the New Fabian Society was just how bad the sound must have been when I saw them at the Balcony last year. Because that night I was unconvinced. But from the off this performance was on the money, wonderfully brutal in places but very much in a good way. Even when Michael’s mic fails mid song he somehow makes a virtue of singing away from the mic. Stirring stuff.
Edinburgh School for the Deaf’s surprise is that they’re .. well behaved. Almost inevitably they play with another different line-up (albeit not this time through choice). But they display the quieter, more melodic side of the tunes in this performance and even Grant’s turn with the mic on ‘Love Is Terminal’ is pretty much without incident.
There’s only a couple of new tunes on offer (one I think they played last time) but they sound as good as ever. And ‘Of Scottish Blood …’ sounds as mighty as ever at the conclusion.
For a band who claim to ‘hang loose’ the Shithawks were surprisingly tight. Not sure I’d ever want to listen to any Shithawks records but as an opening act they were an excellent introduction to the show. And perhaps most surprising of all is that, at the third time of asking, I finally caught their whole set!
Photos from the show here.