It’s funny but, other than a short period a while ago, I’ve rarely felt old at gigs, other than the very occasional show. But at Saturday night’s Cool Cat Club show, I certainly did. So, in retrospect this probably wasn’t the gig to go to ahead of yet another birthday!
Of course, Vladimir’s shows do tend to attract younger audiences than I’m used to (thankfully for a young band) but the average age of Saturday night’s audience was certainly dropped by the large crowd to see young support Sahara. More of which later.
First up are Melophobia. Pitched somewhere between garage and grunge, they’re unrelenting, with crushing riffs and screamed vocals. There’s not a lot of light in their darkness and, what melody there is, is almost exclusively derived from the bass lines. As you might expect, it’s those songs that appeal the most to MPT, and the last tune adds another dimension in that it’s almost danceable.
A significant portion of the crowd seemed to be here for young Dundee band Sahara, who apparently are still at school, which explains the mass of teens not of drinking age in the room. Who go suitably mental for the band right from the off.
The first tune sounds a bit indie landfill to be honest before the second veers surprisingly into Bob Dylan territory complete with harmonica solos (and crowd moshing)! The third is a short instrumental the energy of which takes them close to the Violent Femmes. At this point though the influences converge on the Libertines, a connection which is explicitly conveyed by a faithful cover of ‘Up The Bracket’.
It probably veers too close to the Libs for me (I was never a fan) but it’s undeniable that Sahara are an exciting live proposition and who very much have time on their side to develop their own identity.
Vladimir have been on the road for much of 2015 with some high profile supports of late and the constant gigging has left them battle hardened. Not that they ever lacked intensity or indeed confidence but there’s an extra dimension from the off with a superb ‘Come Over’.
Pleasingly a couple of new numbers have been added to the set since the Spring whilst their ‘Born Slippy’ cover remains a crowd favourite. But it’s the recent singles like ‘Smoke Eyes’ and ‘In My Head’ which highlight just why this band are winning converts up and down the country. These songs marry the tension and ferocity of the earliest material with a distinctive melodic sensibility.
‘Valentine’ brings the set to a defiant finale, with Ross’s sign-off, “We are Vladimir!” his only spoken contribution of the evening.
In truth Vladimir don’t need any more words than that at the moment – their music and their performances are doing all the talking that’s needed.
Previously on MPT
Vladimir interview (November 2015 – Part 1 and Part 2)
Sahara interview (November 2015)
Melophobia interview (November 2015)