It’s London. It’s October. It’s cold. Obviously it’s cloudy, with a constant threat of rain. It’s a Wednesday so the weekend is in sight but not quite within touching distance. As a result, it comes with great pleasure that I have a ticket to a gig, a ticket to escape the midweek mundanity that could otherwise engulf me. The gig is the DIY NEU music tour and the 3 bands performing are INHEAVEN, The Big Moon, and VANT. They’re performing at Dingwalls in Camden. And I am excited.
This is my first experience of Dingwalls and as soon as I arrive it is clear that this is an awesome live music venue with a capacity of around 500. It is also clear that I’m in the middle of Hipsterville and I don’t fit in at all. I did wear my Converse so that’s given me some credibility at least. Even the music playing whilst the tech guys set up in between acts is ironic; 90’s cheesy pop hits by acts such as Spice Girls and Savage Garden. I won’t lie, I’m loving it. INHEAVEN are tonight’s opening act and as they come on stage at a little after 8pm, there is anticipation in the air for what’s to come (and a nasty smell; I realise I am too close to the Men’s toilets. I move). These guys are good and there’s a strong mix of influences from The Vaccines to Cage the Elephant in their grungy scuzzy sound. There’s four in the band and the female harmonies from the bassist really add an extra element to the vibe. All the tracks they perform are enjoyable but it’s ‘Bitter Town’ and ‘Regeneration’ (their final 2 tracks) that really strike a chord with me. These are big tracks that deserve some serious radio airtime. The anthemic lyrics of ‘I don’t wanna bring you down, I just wanna fuck around, My Generation, This is My Generation!’ make ‘Regeneration’ a candidate for huge sing-along’s at festivals of the future where this band are sure to be creeping further and further up the pecking order.
The Big Moon are up next and I am insanely keen to see them. The studio tracks that I’ve heard are all of a very high quality and there’s a lot of buzz about these four girls. It’s apparent from the first track to the last that they’re all very talented musicians. It’s such a professional, polished and tight performance that it baffles and bewilders me that they’re not signed. The lead singer is captivating and performs with attitude and charisma and I can’t help but make comparisons to Wolf Alice; two completely different female leads but they’ve got confidence and style that resemble each other. The lead guitarist has a few solo’s that really impress and it just adds to the feel that this is a band that is going places. Much like INHEAVEN, The Big Moon have tracks that belong on the radio and they finish with two of them; ‘The Road’ and ‘Sucker’ are immense tunes that sound amazing on record but even more wondrous live. ‘Sucker’ in particular feels like an absolute juggernaut and I can’t see how it’s not a hit, it’s clear that the crowd have been waiting for this one and many are singing the chorus with them ‘It got darker, Every night, But I wouldn’t change my mind, I’m a sucker for you…’ Amazing.
As The Big Moon vacate the stage, I brace myself for what is to come. VANT are the most exciting band around at the moment. I’ve been singing their praises for a while now and this opportunity to finally see them live is the ultimate reason I’m at Dingwalls. I move forward into the ‘moshing’ area. I am taking full advantage of the small venue and the opportunity to lose myself to their music. They kick off with ‘The Answer’, a track that has been on Radio 1’s playlist and lives up to this big time reputation. They smash it out with attitude and a lot of noise. Mattie Vant is an intense and grungey lead man and he never lets up. These guys are living up to my expectations. The tracks I haven’t heard are quality and I want to hear them on record as soon as possible. They reel off ‘Parasite’ in 90 seconds of head banging brilliance. It’s hot. It’s sweaty. Mattie Vant is in the crowd. He’s in the middle of the dance floor riffing away, the crowd are loving it. It happens again not much later when he practically crawls off the stage and plays his guitar while almost lying face down! The finale is everything I’d hoped for as the band completely annihilate ‘Do You Know Me’ and a few of us at the front of the venue end up dancing on stage. VANT lived up to the hype and then they chewed up that hype, spat it out and created a whole new level of hype. WOW.
Three incredible new bands. Dingwalls in Camden was a fitting venue but soon they’ll be selling out arenas and headlining festivals, destined for greatness.
For our interview with VANT, click here.
Review by Toby Clayton |