TVD Live:
Vigo Thieves at Notting Hill Arts Club, 9/12

Review: Ed Williams

The last time I was at the Notting Hill Arts Club was to see trip hop Hounslow trio, Ex Libras. Now, it’s almost four years later, and I’m back to see another band from A Badge Of Friendship’s impressive stable of artists, Vigo Thieves. They’re from out of town (Wishaw, just outside of Glasgow), so I’m fairly cynical about how well they’re going to be received in London. Christ, I’ve seen local bands who’ve spent the best part of 5 years trawling the circuit watch a crowd hit the bar as soon as they come on stage.

I managed to catch a couple of songs from the preceding band’s set – it’s a fairly impressive crowd, not exactly packed to the rafters, no real dancing – your typical Wednesday night gig. Once they’re off stage the lead singer approaches me and asks if I want a single – I make my excuses, and politely decline. Then comes the customary exodus to the bar. It’s just me, the sound-man and a few people waiting for the next band.

Then Vigo Thieves hit the stage and something spectacular happens. About halfway through their first song, “Blood Red,” people have rushed, actually rushed, back from the bar, and there’re arms waving everywhere (encouraged by the rhythm guitarist). People love them.

There’re five of them squeezed on to the stage, so they’re quite the spectacle. The explosive start immediately wins over the crowd, and front man Stevie Jukes has them eating out of his hand. There’s a feeling of the traditional Scots/Irish rebel song to the their first tune, and it’s completely hypnotised the audience with its throbbing beat, and choppy guitar.

The second song, “She’s On Fire,” a previously released single, absolutely screams Simple Minds. It can’t be an accident, there are far too many nods by way of keyboard licks, reverb-soaked guitar, and Stevie’s affected vocal style. Again, the crowd go nuts for it. There are people dancing in a London club, on a Wednesday for a band that’s travelled hundreds of miles to play here. Vigo Thieves are living the dream.

The band then ambitiously decide to play a track they’ve never played live before, “Forever.” It’s pure stadium rock, and despite a couple of hiccups, they pull it off. The song has elements of Kings Of Leon wrapped up inside it, but done better and with more feeling. Plus, the keyboardist provides some amazing harmonies that’d put the once-bearded wonders to shame.

The last three songs of the night “Echoes,” “Steal Your Heart,” and finale, “Heartbeats” are epic in scale. No one should be able to create a sound this huge in a venue this small. The band certainly wear their influences on their sleeves, but it would do them a disservice to describe them as derivative. They’ve taken elements from U2, Simple Minds, and New Order and blended them in a way that you can immediately recognize the influence, but are still swept away, and excited even, by the fresh direction Vigo Thieves have taken the sound.

Whether you like Vigo Thieves on record is irrelevant – this is a band who know how to put on an amazing show and, more importantly, work a crowd. When Stevie mentions there are free EPs and singles available at the front of the stage, the crowd surge forward. I hope the band were on a high after the gig, because they pulled off something that most bands only dream of – they came to London, packed a venue, and got a group of complete strangers to go nuts over their music.

You can download Vigo Thieves’ free single “Heartbeats” via their Soundcloud page.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/chewis Lewis Blagsound Donovan

    We have them dancing EVERY Wednesday night at Notting Hill Arts Club. Death2Disco – the best new bands, live, every week. FREE ENTRY before 11pm 😉

    For more info, head to our Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/Death2DiscoLondon

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