My Vitriol’s first London show in four years is packed, but not sold out, and as the stage’s backdrop is lowered bearing the band's emblem, the likelihood of future plans seems pretty small.
That is until a projector screen covers the stage, showing a film announcing a new album – available for pre-order at the end of June. The crowd goes wild.
Frontman Som Wardner’s voice cuts through the synths and keys’ rumblings with the same power and clarity of over a decade ago. The monster of a drum kit, housing original drummer Ravi Kesavaram, shudders as they tear into ‘War Of The Worlds’.
As we settle into the evening and ‘Grounded’ begins, the band sounds good but the songs seem dated. The music is strong and can definitely appeal to the grunge revival, but it doesn’t feel fresh.
Wardner is having the time of his life, and the crowd is catching up as the set continues with the debut of new song. It's decent shoegaze featuring no new tricks, and we wonder if the forthcoming album will be educating a new generation, or just pandering to the last one.
‘Cemented Shoes’ gets the reaction it deserves and the mosh pit is churning like it’s 2000. The grunge elements sound fantastic, but the low-energy shoegaze feels harder to place. Some of the unexpected piano-led ballads might be interesting to hear recorded, but they don’t sit right within the context of this gig.
The juvenility in some tracks shows, but some members of the crowd seem to love it. Unfortunately some aren’t reacting to the music at all, loudly questioning when the afterparty will start. A huge dampener on the atmosphere.
The evening features a handful of covers, the most exciting of which is Daft Punk's omnipresent ‘Get Lucky’, with added swirling guitar.
After an extended introduction, the highlight song of the encore, ‘Always: Your Way’, garners an unsurprisingly huge reaction. The track still sounds strong and it all falls into place, dispelling thoughts of vanity projects and dated ideas. The performance is incredible. On his knees, screaming into the mic, Wardner leaves us to the feedback.
Wah- and delay-driven, squealing guitar solos, jumps from double- to half-speed on roaring drums, and the occasional addition of lung-bursting screams. It's not rocket science, but it’s a tried and tested formula that still hits a nerve – whether it’s nostalgia or a revolution.
Words: Finnola D'Albert
Photos: Dan Aitch
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