Saturday 12 March 2011

Vigo Thieves - Love Is Dead Single Launch

Last night the Vigo Thieves were all set to celebrate the launch of their latest single ‘Love is Dead’ with a sold out show at Captain’s Rest. To say the night took a few twists and turns along the way is a bit of an understatement!

Everything started well, load-in, Vigo Thieves soundcheck, OK Social Club soundcheck and then it was the turn of the band Jane Bolts to soundcheck at their second ever gig....the power went downstairs in the venue.

Upstairs everything was fine, the busy crowd were in good form, keeping the bar staff busy and many were settling down to watch the first half of the Spurs v Milan game. Thankfully the Vigo’s booking agent is Craig McGee, the owner of and someone very capable of thinking quickly on their feet and also someone with a very useful address book in his mobile.
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A quick call to Scottish Power established that there was a problem with the supply to some homes and businesses in the area and power would likely be back on at 10pm. Of course this couldn’t be guaranteed. Popping next door to the Liquid Ship to see if they fancied 100 thirsty Vigo Thieves fans coming over to boost their Wednesday night takings and cram into an even smaller venue than the Captain’s, Craig and the band were met with the reply; ‘ermmm, we couldn’t do that, we have our open mic on.’ Mmmmm 100 people for a Vigo Thieves gig, or a dozen for the open mic night? No contest in a recession, but the Ship turned it down.

Craig then earned his stripes as a booker/promoter/agent by phoning the owner of the Black Sparrow, who also happens to own the Admiral in Waterloo Street and he very kindly said that they could use the basement venue in the Admiral. This all happened in the space of 30-40 minutes and the good old Dunkirk spirit came into play as bands, fans, equipment and sound engineer all made their way to the Admiral. What a shame for the Vigo Thieves on their triumphant night that they had all this stress and couldn’t simply enjoy a few beers with their mates and fans before playing a storming gig and as Craig is a big Spurs fan he couldn’t watch the game!

Everything came together and the Liquid Ships loss was The Admiral’s gain as everyone watched the football upstairs before heading down just shortly after 10pm to catch the Jane Bolts. As it was only their second gig I can’t be too harsh, on the plus side they had a couple of decent guitar riffs and they covered a Pixies song. On the minus they murdered the Pixies song and I wasn’t sure if the singer had a cold or if he was trying to (badly) impersonate Julian Casablancas, or both. So I was harsh. On another plus side the young crowd they brought with them seemed to enjoy it. Maybe I am just getting old!

Things picked up as the OK Social Club strode confidently on to the stage and bashed out an energetic set of catchy guitar pop song after catchy guitar pop song. Riffs, refrains, hooks and choruses were all clearly evident in a very tight set that was quite literally music to my ears after the Jane Bolts. A few people I know have said that I should catch them live and on the evidence of last night I would certainly do so again.

It was nearing 11 o’clock before the headliners finally took to the stage to chants of ‘Viiiiigo’ and with the guitarist Barry Galbraith seeming to have his own personal fanclub in. Clearly relieved that their launch night had been saved from ruin the band thanked everyone and launched straight into their debut single ‘Won’t You Be Mine’, wasting no time before hurtling straight into ‘Sound of Summer’, surely an anthem in the making. Bassist Gordon Phipps was bouncing around, punching the sky and slapping his bass like a cross between Peter Hook and Animal from the Muppets.

‘Steal Your Heart’ provoked some good old fashioned pogo-ing from the young lads at the front before the single ‘Love Is Dead’ got its first live outing. The band ended with ‘Blood Red’ prompting a mini stage invasion, the gig ending with singer Stevie Jukes being hugged by 3 fans at once while still attempting to sing the final line.

It was a short set from the Vigo Thieves (and indeed the other acts) due to the time restraints that were placed on the night due to the last minute change of venue, however in the brief set they showed that they have the songs to generate some love and affection. Hopefully their next gig in Glasgow will go to plan and allow them the chance to enjoy it properly as it must have been a stressful night for them.

1 comment:

GCampbell said...

First off, I feel I may as well be open and introduce myself. I'm Graeme and I play guitar in Jane Bolts, so if I come across as a little bias in what I'm about to say, please forgive me!

I know it's now late August and the review is a little dated, but having read it I feel the need to put a bit of a defence forward for my band. I'll start off by conceding that the gig came way too early for us. We formed in late November and had only really started to consistently rehearse on a bi-weekly basis around the start of January. With the naivety of a new band, we put together 5 or 6 songs (none of which are retained in our current set, incidentally) and sat about trying to get some gigs. When the gigs did come, it was quite a baptism of fire and maybe we'd have been better prepared for them if we had stewed over in rehearsals for a little longer. Playing a gig for any new band is daunting (and none of us have ever been in a band before) and if I cast my mind back, this night was made even worse by the tumult that surrounded it. Due to the last minute change of venue, the allocated times were squeezed and I remember trying to frantically set up my fuzz pedal and tuner for a quick sound check after the other bands had set up. We ended up getting about 2 minutes (literally) to test our gear out before playing the show and obviously, that isn't ideal for any band, far less for one who were completely new to this game!

The Pixies tune wasn't maybe the easiest song we could have done (if you watch the LoudquietLoud documentary you'll even see Frank and Kim struggling to get the time keys correct at the beginning!) but we thought we'd try something different rather than the usual indie-by-numbers cover. In retrospect, maybe something a bit simpler would have been wiser, but again, that's just the naivety that goes hand in hand when you start a new band. You want to wow people from the off.

As I touched on earlier, hardly any of the songs from March remain in our set and as a band in general we've improved exponentially on every front. As a blogger also, there's no hard feelings and I understand you need to call it as you see it, new band or not. What I will ask of you is that if you get the chance to come see us in the future, then please do, and maybe we'll change your initial opinion and you can get a positive review up.

All the best with your blog,

Graeme, Jane Bolts