The Vaselines - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

The Vaselines - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Al Brown Rating: Release Date:

Support act Haight-Ashbury are kind of what you'd expect from a band named after the (now thoroughly gentrified) 60s counterculture epicentre. A three-piece with no dedicated drummer (the lead singer provides rudimentary percussion) their two girl vocalists wear long dresses and sing Bangles-esque two-part harmonies. I got the distinct impression that they don't spend a great deal of time on their lyrics, and that rhyming dictionaries may have been involved, but they create a nice enough groove I guess. It does sound more like a 90s version of the 60s than the 60s themselves, by which I mean, if you were watching Heartbreak High re-runs, and the kids all went to see a hot new band, they would probably sound like this.

One of the nicest surprises of this month has been The Vaselines new album being not entirely mediocre. It is perhaps because the band never achieved mainstream success that they remain so thoroughly likable, both on record and in person. Whereas reunions by The Pixies and Pavement, with their endless sellouts of 5000-capacity venues, seem like licences to play the rock-god and print money, The Vaselines' can have no such pretensions touring places like The Brudenell. Their stage banter is a thing of vulgar beauty: even after all these years it seems the terminal horniness that fuelled songs like 'Rory Rides Me Raw' is as strong as ever. Frances McKee suggests that anyone who buys their album will have the privilege of giving co-founder and ex-boyfriend Eugene Kelly a blowjob before reconsidering: "Actually, I wouldn't go there."

"Anymore", grunts Kelly, almost inaudibly.

Later, we're treated to some thoughts about the Pope that would probably have the pair lynched in parts of their hometown. But what about the music? Well it's a pleasure from start to finish: The better songs from the new album ('I Hate the 80s', 'Sex with an X'), segue flawlessly into the old material, including a great rendition of 'Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam' and "The first song we ever wrote": 'Son of a Gun'. It's worth mentioning that the band rock harder than those familiar with their recorded output might expect. A three guitar attack plus a rhythm section including former 1990s drummer Michael McGaughrin adds a degree of oomph to proceedings without taking away any of the ramshackle charm of those early recordings. Ending with a three-song encore, including their version of Divine's 'You Think You're a Man', one is struck again by the easy charm of McKee and Kelly, indie-idols who seem to have found a new enthusiasm for playing for small pockets of dedicated fans around the world.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet
Related Articles