Posts Tagged ‘Victoria Vaults’

Christopher Nosnibor

Having been rescheduled after last November’s booking was cancelled, The Golden Age of TV are back in York on the eve of the release of a new EP.

It’s not the most promising start to arrive to find the doors locked, and Sea Legs are still soundchecking when they open the doors 25 minutes late. Something isn’t right with the mic in the kick drum, and it’s creating huge crackling distortion. But a change of mic, a change of leads, and things are back on track, albeit with a slightly later start.

It’s pretty quiet to begin, too, so the time between soundcheck and the start affords a bit of time just to sup a pint of Timothy Taylor’s dark mild and see the venue properly. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed that there’s still a fireplace and mantelpiece at the back of the stage behind the drum kit. It’s even more of an anomaly than the huge great radiator at the side of the room. These are reminders that The Vaults may be a venue, but still a pub at heart, and I’m drinking my hand-pulled pint from a real glass. There’s something comforting and gratifying about this.

Sea Legs’ melodic indie/alt rock stylings are easy on the ear, and occasionally fade into waves of ambience in between. There are some nice bass grooves too, not to mention some detailed and textured lead guitar work. They’re tight and tuneful: to my ears they’re nice enough but a shade ordinary, although that means they’re also exactly the kind of band that goes massive with the right breaks.

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Sea Legs

Pavillion’s front man’s beige chinos and shiny paisley shirt are a bit of a distraction from the music, although that’s probably just me as I realise he’s dressed how everyone dressed when I was their age, down to the early 90s curtains. I also realise the place is suddenly a lot busier, and it’s a shame their fans / mates thin out again shortly after their set, not least of all because they seriously missed out. If I was being harsh, I’d say their song ‘Terrifically Ordinary’ could be their signature, but they show real songwriting panache, with hints of Squeeze, and they play well, even if the visual aspect of their performance isn’t particularly evolved yet. Their lyrical vignettes are poetic and evocative, and well-constructed.

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Pavillion

All of this is just preamble, both in terms of the bands and the commentary. I’m here for The Golden Age of TV quite simply because the last time I saw them back in September, they absolutely blew me away with their sheer quality. Although they’ve been around a while, something seemed to have fired them up several notches during lockdown.

Tonight proves that their Long Division performance was not just a flicker post-pandemic exuberance, and that they really are a band who’ve achieved a new level of form. In a bold move, they open with the upcoming EP’s title track and lead single ‘Bite My Skin’ that merges motorik groove with choppy post punk and solid riffing.

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The Golden Age of TV

The energy they radiate is magical: they’re overtly nerdy in image, and they embrace it to the max. Rock god guitar poses (Ryan with glasses sliding off face, the guy plays every chord like it’s an absolute crushing stadium-blasting monster, Sam hard thrashing like he’s possessed) epic gurning and unashamed mum dancing, they are just so exuberant and joy to watch, and I keep finding myself grinning like a loon. Bea is a remarkably expressive vocalist with great presence. In all, they’ve got great tunes, tight and tidy with neat structures and finishes, and a great vibe. When a band are this into what they’re doing, it’s hard not to get caught up in it. The golden age of TV may have long passed, but their own golden age is now. Go see them: because recorded they’re ace, but it’s live where they really thrive.

Christopher Nosnbor

By this time in any normal year, I’ll have been to at least three or four gigs by now, but 2022 has got off to a slow start largely because the impacts of Covid-19 continue to hit live music harder than perhaps most industries. Planning is nigh on impossible when bandmembers find they have to quarantine as late as the day of a show. Plus, people – bands and punters alike – are still cautious, and the dilemma of to play or not to play, attend or not attend is one that’s understandable. But, having attended my first live music at The Victoria Vaults (a seated show) last August, I’ve been working to overcome any anxieties I may have by getting out more, at least incrementally, and it’s remarkably life-affirming to arrive early doors to find a fair few others have already turned up for what promises to be a top night out, with touring London acts The Kut and Healthy Junkies supported by local quartet The Bricks.

If the name suggests something unsubtle, and also blankly nihilistic, it’s halfway to a fair representation, in that The Bricks trade in dark, spiky goth-tinged (post) punk, with some busy but solid bass grooves. Gemma Kennedy delivers gutsy vocals at the lower end of the range but then rising to a scream, and brings real power to the songs, and she’s a compelling focal point for the band, too. Introducing one of the songs, it dawns on me that the three guys playing instruments probably remember the miner’s strike that one of the songs is or isn’t about, in contrast to the vocalist who very much doesn’t, but they work cohesively as a unit, and deliver a solid and exhilarating set, and they’re admirably tight.

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The Bricks

Healthy Junkies – a band who’ve been on my radar for a while as a band to see – don’t disappoint and kick ass from the outset. They power out of the traps channelling Pretty On the Inside era Hole sonically and visually (and perhaps Nina Courson brings a dash of Katie Jane Garside to the punk rock party too). They sustain full throttle, max energy, punky energy for the duration, and while their cover of ‘These Boots Were Made for Walking’ is perhaps a bit standard, it’s played with feeling as part of a set that builds. Recent single ‘Tricky Situation’ is but one of a number of standouts in a set delivered with real panache.

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Healthy Junkies

I won’t bang on about how long I’ve been listening to and covering The Kut, but will say that it’s been a long but rewarding journey tracing their ascent, and following the release of their long-awaited debut album, they’ve continued that upward trajectory. While it’s Princess Maha as the band’s principal member who’s driven this, it’s only been possible by building a grassroots fanbase through hard gigging, and regardless of lineup, The Kut have always been a strong live band, and this is never more apparent than tonight. It’s a different lineup from the last time I saw them at Verve in Leeds in August 2018, which is practically a lifetime ago.

In a set that rocks hard, post-album single cut ‘Animo’ lands second. It’s perhaps a shame that the ‘girls to the front’ shout suffers from the wall of male photographers making up the front row, but they’re not going to throw a Dream Nails strop about it: they’re clearly enjoying being up there in front of a respectable crowd, playing songs after so long away, and they’re on strong form. Maha’s vocals are scratchy in the throat, but actually sound really good against the backdrop of chunky rock guitars. There’s palpable pleasure on their faces as they rip through the poppier ‘Hollywood Rock ‘n’ Roll’, and the moshing down the front expands from a couple off people to a proper pit. Maha’s grinning and pogoing, and it’s a joy to witness, as is the kickass rendition of ‘DMA’, and ‘I Want You Maniac’ brings forth more solid riffing. The forthcoming album is well represented with a number of songs, too. Of these, ‘Burn Your Bridges’ is slower and more dynamic, and something of a standout.

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The Kut

Main set closer ‘Badman’ brings most of the moshers up onto the stage, and I realise that it’s precisely this that I’ve missed; people cutting loose, enjoying themselves, the whole gig principle of getting lost in the moment. I’m immersed in the performance, the show, the experience, and for a few minutes at least, this is the world. There is nothing more, and this is the entirety of the universe. If only life was always this way – because in there here and now, with a pint in my hand and a band blasting away, giving it their all, this feels like the best of living.