Image for The Vasco Era, Oxford Art Factory – 17th April

The Vasco Era, Oxford Art Factory – 17th April

Written by Nell Greco on April 20, 2010

The trend of this gig turned out to be smaller band = bigger fun, bigger band = smaller fun. Part boy/part girl Melbourne-based duo Big Scary opened the night on a fine note and splashed elements of psych-rock and their friendly, upbeat riffs all over the crowd.

Simon Carter was drab by comparison. The former member of The Cops appeared to be trying to amalgamate old and new rock styles in his new music and well, it didn’t really meet the standard of the other bands in the room. Perhaps it was simply a case of mismatched tour companions but it was some relief when The Vasco Era took to the stage.

Joined by a near invisible and almost nameless keys player (Tom apparently), The Vasco Era opened with the first track from their latest album Lucille. ‘Not Stuck Here’, with its slow and dramatic crescendo was exactly what the crowd were there for. They weren’t shy about showing it either. Shenanigans took place during tracks like ‘For No One’, with Ted (bass) having a wave-off with a couple of guys in the audience and ‘I Am a Vessel’ where Michael (drummer) howled his heart out with particular exuberance. The good humour of the crowd rubbed off onto Sid (guitar, vox) too, who after ‘Never Longed for Nothing’ thanked the crowd for “putting up with that outpouring of emotion – does anyone have a lighter?” Girls jumped up onto the stage, Ted jumped off it – there was mutual respect for band and punter.

Old favourites from their debut release Oh We Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside included ‘When It First Showed Up’, ‘When you Went’, and a tease of ‘Honey Bee’. The gritty, blues simplicity of that album has somewhat been lost on Lucille but the volatile, sweet and raw quality of Sid’s voice remains. These boys know how to rock and roll, I just hope they don’t ever forget how.

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