Vladimir / Velvet Indigo / The Rankins / Francis Duffy & The Kingpins – Conroy’s Basement, Dundee – Friday 31st March 2017

From the outside it sometimes seems like Vladimir have been pursuing a career in slow motion. After the initial burst of two E.P.s and a single (a skin which was rapidly shed), in recent years recordings have been rather thin on the ground.

Rather than recording, however, the band have been instead building a live following up and down the country, sometimes through high profile supports to the likes of the Fall but just as often playing in their own right.

Friday’s show was the first of two homecoming shows in the intimate surroundings of Conroy’s Basement and provided plenty of evidence that the band’s live show has benefitted from the regular touring.

In person, Vladimir remain a dark, coiled proposition , even if they have largely shed the gothic darkness of those early records. But it’s undeniable that all the singles over the last couple of years have been far more open to the idea of melody than those early tunes.

As a consequence whilst the live show remains intense and propulsive it undeniably contains the sort of hooks which have helped get them noticed.

The stand-out for me remains ‘Smoke Eyes’, dispensed with early on in the set on Friday, but the likes of ‘In My Head’ and ‘I Try’ aren’t far behind.

A big plus was that there were as many new songs in the set as I’ve heard from the band in a long time- the presumably working titles below suggest that they’re quite new! But a couple of these songs introduced some light into the darkness thereby adding more variety to the live.

It’s been over five years since I first saw Vladimir live and since then they’ve made impressive strides for an unsigned band. I can’t help but think that, to kick them onto that next level, an album is probably necessary. And on Friday’s evidence now could well be the time to get that album down.

The supports turned out to be a very mixed bag. Neither Francis Duffy and the Kingpins (hard rock) nor The Rankines (Britpop) pressed the right buttons for me but Glasgow’s Indigo Velvet were a more interesting proposition.

I rarely see bands with any sort of afro-beat influence so it was odd that Indigo Velvet were the just first of three over the course of the weekend to do so.

Interestingly they married those African influences to a Frightened Rabbit style widescreen rock and in doing so made a positive impression.

Vladimir played:

  1. Come Over
  2. Seconds
  3. (New New Song)
  4. Smoke Eyes
  5. Fumble
  6. (New Song)
  7. Born Slippy
  8. In My Head
  9. I Try
  10. Revolution Dream

Photos by Andy Wood