TVD Live Shots: My Vitriol at KOKO, 11/19

Every time I hear the name My Vitriol, it brings me back to the golden days of SXSW, a time when a sense of anticipation superseded the current state of immediate gratification. A time when you would hear about a new band and get so excited to see them live that you’d drop everything you’re doing for the night to line up early to make sure you’d get in. Given overwhelming circumstances, sometimes you would, sometimes you wouldn’t, but you could never Facebook and Tweet your way beyond the mystique. It was real, it was authentic, it was magical… and sadly it’s not ever coming back again.

One of these moments was the debut of My Vitriol in 2001. The record was called Finelines. The buzz was through the fucking roof. The mystique was there and it was real. If you could get in to see one of the band’s performances, you were among the elite of the music business, along with a few hardcore fans. When they hit the stage, the sound was both glorious and surreal.

This is the same feeling I get living in London every time I hear that My Vitriol is playing a show in the UK. It brings me back to that moment when exclusivity mattered more than reach. When you discover a new band for the first time and can’t wait to share it with your friends even though they might not understand, which is even cooler because then you have them all to yourself. Not great for record sales—but that’s not the point.

My Vitriol is one of the few bands today who retain this mystique while staying connected to their fans. 2016 saw the release of the long-awaited, direct to fans, Pledge Music campaign for The Secret Sessions. Was it worth waiting 15 years? Absolutely. I wrote a review earlier this year after their brilliant show at Scala which dives deeper into the significance and evolution of the band via that release which you can read here.

The main difference between the Scala show and the recent two-night extravaganza of which I witnessed the first night, was the addition of a live bass player. While it may not sound like a huge deal, it humanizes the low-end that locks in with the drums and lays the foundation for the incredibly dynamic soundscapes from the dual guitar attack of Wardner and Taylor.

The highlight of the night for me was seeing and hearing Finelines played almost in its entirety. I haven’t heard “Losing Touch” in more than a decade and to see the crowd light up and sing word for word was something special. Classics such as “Gentle Art of Choking,” “Cement Shoes,” “Grounded,” and “Always: Your Way” sounded as fresh as they did more than a decade ago (and I would argue sounding better live than they did back then). “London City Lights” and “The Agonies and Ecstasies,” which are my two favorite songs from The Secret Sessions, sounded absolutely stellar as well.

The band had a bit of fun closing out the night with blistering versions of Nirvana’s “School” and The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Cherub Rock.” (At least I think it was “Cherub Rock,” it was a long night.)

I’ve spent a lot of time listening to The Secret Sessions in the last year, and while it may not grab the listener immediately as Finelines once did, the record is deep. Each time I listen to it I find something new to love about it—much like the band dynamic itself, it’s complex with many layers which makes for great listening. I’m eager to hear what the band has in store next—is it more new music and perhaps additional tour dates in the new year? Whatever it may be, I’m on board 100% as I could watch this show a thousand more times.

On a final note, after the show I got the chance to say hello to Som. I hadn’t seen him since I gave him and the rest of the band a ride to a show during SXSW years ago when I tried to convince them that LA Guns was a great band. I don’t think he remembered that (probably a good thing), but he was very humble and gracious—one of the coolest guys I’ve met in the biz. After what he’s been through with this band, it’s a pleasant surprise to see a glowing personality behind the on stage/ on record genius.

For the latest updates on My Vitriol, follow the band’s official website and Facebook page.

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