TVD Live Shots: My Vitriol at the Islington Assembly Hall, 11/1

Few bands in the world have a flawless catalogue and a reputation for consistently over-delivering, one of those being My Vitriol. Technically speaking, the band has only delivered two full-length records during their twenty-year run. Still, both of them are brilliant in every aspect of modern music, especially their juggernaut of a debut Finelines, which still holds up flawlessly. Add to that a certain mystique around the band and the fact that they single-handedly invented the genre of “nu gaze” (an evolution of the shoegaze but more accessible and forward-thinking).

This would be the third time I’ve seen My Vitriol since moving to the UK three years ago. They don’t tour very often these days, so when they do, it’s a pretty big deal and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Not only is it a spectacle for the eyes, but the sonic explosion that happens with My Vitriol live is unlike any show I’ve seen before. Touring as a three-piece Seth Taylor, Som Wardner, and Ravi Kesavaram (bassist Tatia Starkey remains on temporary leave) the trio wowed a near-capacity crowd for almost two hours and there was never a dull moment.

The setlist pulled heavily from Finelines with a dozen songs from their masterful debut and surprisingly only four tracks from 2016’s Secret Sessions. It was great to hear “It’s so Damn Easy” early on in the set as it sounds brilliant live. Other highlights were the staples, including “Losing Touch,” “Cemented Shoes,” “The Gentle Art of Choking,” “Alpha Waves,” and of course, “Always Your Way.” Between the lights and the sonic bombardment, this was a show that assaulted all of your senses in the nicest possible way. Parts of the show were so heavy that a decent sized mosh pit formed just in front of the stage. I’m not sure that was necessary as I’ve never seen one at a My Vitriol show, but the show was that intense.

New to the set is an explosive cover of Mark Ronson’s “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart,” which you can get a preview of on the band’s social channels. It’s epic and brings the unique My Vitriol sound to a pop song, arguably making it better than the original, at least for those who are not a fan of Miley Cyrus. Either way, hopefully this is the beginning of a new full-length record as it would be nice to get a new studio album without having to wait another fifteen years.

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