The Vintage Caravan at Rebellion: Live Review

The Vintage Caravan at Rebellion: Live Review

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Words: Phil Weller | Photos: Anthony Firmin

The rise of The Vintage Caravan, with their first two critically acclaimed records coming hot on the heels of one another in 2014 and 2015, was meteoric. Forming the band as 12 year olds and signed to Nuclear Blast as the trio entered their 20s, their song-writing craftsmanship and stage presence was belying of such a youthful act. But here tonight, returning to Manchester after some two and a bit years away, they no longer resemble the baby faced assassins they once were, and for the better. The band that entertains the crowd tonight with charisma and ease appears older, more established and in top form. They are a very different proposition now but still possess everything that made them so damn lovable in the first place.

Local Manchester rockers The Naked Six had provided amicable support; their gritty, working class rock n' roll nestling on the indie side of the spectrum and performing it with malice and energy. There were plenty of breakout riffs, some coming in swinging like Rage Against The Machine meets The Virginmarys, others iced with an early Artic Monkeys style vocal grit. The problem, however, was that, while they were entertaining enough, as their set progressed their formulaic song-writing began to reveal itself more and more. Songs, while none of them poor, blurred into one another and didn't offer any real freshness to the tried and tested rock n’ roll blueprint.

 To that effect, as The Vintage Caravan stormed into their set with a big three pronged vocal attack on Set Your Sights were a well-oiled and intricately performing machine in comparison who, across a smile-spreading 15 song setlist, set themselves apart with subtle but ultimately major differences. These are the differences, evident in the band since day one are the reason one of rock's most established labels put their faith - and their money - into such an embryonic act and show their class. In a world where the likes of copyists Greta Van Fleet spending more time whining about “the death of rock n’ roll” while single headedly killing it with their innate dullness and complete lack of originality, spinning the wheel and, as they do so asking the world "do you remember Led Zeppelin, weren't they good?", The Vintage Caravan add the details and individualism that make this more than just a nostalgic trip. Their rhythmic flair, which can turn on a six pence, ignited a number of their tracks. It pulled the songs from their standard, stomping rock beat and sharpened their edges. The slick lead guitar work of Óskar Logi Ágústsson and the distinctiveness of his vocals added  much to their signature brew too.

Interspersing their songs with only friendly and well humoured chats to the crowd, they smash through an adrenalized Crazy Horses and a rollicking, hook-laden Cocaine Sally whilst Midnight Meditation sees the trio uniting once more on vocals during its maniacally boogieing chorus.

Ágústsson's control and understanding of his instrument is well apparent during On The Run, the jewel in the crown of their latest album, Gateways. A song about life on the road, its melodies sizzle and soar, its verses rolling along a shuffling tide and its chorus skyscraper tall. It's one of those songs that lights up a venue and to see them play it live was a real joy.

After closing the set with a tight and punchy Expand Your Mind however, they begin their encore with a cover of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain, a song the world does not need a cover of. What's more is that, not only does it take away from the credibility of their own fantastic songwriting but the band don't seem all into it, especially when you watch them throw themselves all over the stage during M.A.R.S.W.A.T.T, which follows. That was what the encore and the crowd deserved and it capped a performance which made the somewhat humble attendance seem criminal.

Manchester is always great, we love playing there. I used a Marshall full stack, we went out to a pub before the show, drank sparkling water and ate a traditional English Pie. We were in a very good mood, a lot of weird banter between the songs, it was great fun.

Ágústsson's control and understanding of his instrument is well apparent during On The Run, the jewel in the crown of their latest album, Gateways. A song about life on the road, its melodies sizzle and soar, its verses rolling along a shuffling tide and its chorus skyscraper tall. It's one of those songs that lights up a venue and to see them play it live was a real joy.

After closing the set with a tight and punchy Expand Your Mind however, they begin their encore with a cover of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain, a song the world does not need a cover of. What's more is that, not only does it take away from the credibility of their own fantastic songwriting but the band don't seem all into it, especially when you watch them throw themselves all over the stage during M.A.R.S.W.A.T.T, which follows. That was what the encore and the crowd deserved and it capped a performance which made the somewhat humble attendance seem criminal.

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How was it for you?

We asked Oskar on their reflections on the night & tour…

After around 5 weeks on the road, how are you finding the tour so far?

The tour went really well and we are very happy about it. We’ve had the best time, we could do another 5 weeks now.

What do you remember of th Manchester show?

Manchester is always great, we love playing there. I used a Marshall full stack, we went out to a pub before the show, drank sparkling water and ate a traditional English Pie. We were in a very good mood, a lot of weird banter between the songs, it was great fun.

Any particular highlights from that show?

Great crowd, familiar faces, met our friend Dylan from The Arkanes, that we used to tour with. We laughed a lot and played well, a success in my book.

I won't mention Alexander's comment about The Naked Six...

Hahaha! “I love how they are naked and that they are six” he laughed more than anyone there.

And finally, what are your memories of playing Manchester on previous tours? I remember when you played here with Blues Pills, that was a packed out and very fun show!

Yeah Manchester has always been a lot of fun, one of my favorite city’s in the UK. It’s raw and real and i love it.

Thanks for coming to the show everyone! 

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