11 November 2018
London is blessed to have many small music venues, one of my favourites was a flea pit called the Marquee Club in Wardour Street, Soho which sadly is no more. At that venue I saw many a band, one being Rose Tattoo where Angry Anderson spat out lyrics including Nice Boys don’t play Rock’n’Roll. I never really got the sentiment, but then i didn’t grow up in Sydney’s suburbs in the 70’s. I also saw a young American band called Guns N Roses play there on their first UK visit in the late 1980’s. They weren’t that great that night but they had that something about them that made everyone take notice.
I never felt the same about any other band until I saw The Vintage Caravan as a support in 2014. Admittedly they had not got an appetite for destruction under their belt but their stage presence and presentation was just as exhilarating, not as dangerous, but equally intoxicating. I have been hooked ever since and not missed a subsequent London gig.
So, there it is, my cards are on the table, I am a TVC fan. On a soggy Saturday afternoon, I had the privilege to interview them sandwiched between their sound check (they played my request!). What a great trio of guys they are, incredibly decent, charming, funny, open ,genuine and very talented. A little fact gleaned from our pre gig chat was that they are always sober during each gig as they want to be consistent for the fans and themselves. Afterwards, well what happens on tour, stays on tour!
Am I too biased to give an impartial view of this gig? maybe , but if they were shit I would say so. They were far from it.
The Borderline, Soho, London is only a few minutes’ walk from the old Marquee, and when TVC took to the stage they owned it. The capacity for the venue was a handful short of sold out and the repeated chorus of “caravan” from the crowd two songs into the set temporarily stopped the show. These three young Icelandic men are 4 albums into their career and they are only still in their early twenties. This tour was to promote the latest Gateways album of which this set consisted of 6 tracks from it. (Album producer Ian Davenport was in the crowd). Rhythm section of Stefan Ari Stefanson on drums and bassist Alex Orn Numason were as tight as the leather jeans on the lady in the front row. Guitar, vocals, hair aerobatics and gurning were completed by Oskar Logi Agustsson. When does a great guitar player become a demi god? I am not saying young Oskar is yet knocking on the tremolo arm of Norse’s Thor or Odin six string but he is no stranger to a fret board, but give him another decade, then who knows. Young Stefan and Alex are not shabby either, far, far from it. There is no place to hide in a three piece, and they don’t need to.
The energy produced by TVG is enough to light a small town, they play for the true love of it and feed off the crowd’s positivity. The 15-song set covered this year’s release Gateways as well as the two previous LP’s, 2014 Voyage and Arrival from the following year. Crazy horses and On the run came too early in the set for me, the latter is a classic rock song in the making and no doubt will be their future anthem. The main set was rounded off by Expand your mind a song that comes with its own bounce factor 10 warning.
Any cover version comes with risk, Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain started the on core, they smashed it more than Lewis Hamilton on the grid, the evening closed with a roof rattling M.A.R.S.W.A.T.T, my request for the soundcheck.
The band loved it, the crowd loved it and I loved it.
I followed the band into their dressing room immediately afterwards, the water bottles being replaced by something a bit stronger, the band wanted to talk, but had to get out again to the merc desk to sell their wares and meet their ever growing hordes of fans.
The Vintage Caravan are on the cusp of great things, they won’t be playing in small venues like tonight for long, so go and see them now to get this close and personal before they move up to the next level.
The have yet to release their appetite, they may never will, but if they carry on doing what they do best it won’t matter as this little O’ band for Iceland may just be in the right place at the right time to fill the vacuum left by the likes of Rush. They are that good.
You heard it here first, TVC are going to be huge
…. By the way Mr Anderson, you were wrong. Nice boys do play rock n roll and they do it sober.
Set your sights
Let me be
On the run
Expand your mind
DJ – House of Loud – MidlandsMetalHeads
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