Vamps @ The Koko, London

28th March 2014, Review and Photography by Graham Hilling

It’s another incredibly early start tonight with doors at 6pm and the first of two bands on at 6:15pm! This means I miss about half of the first band, The Howling.

The Howling
The Howling

This is a 5 piece from London whose promo material says they are a “Punk Rock Electronic band”. This evening, there was more rock on display than anything else, which is not a band thing.

The Howling
The Howling

The Kokos impressive PA did the band full justice with the dual guitars of The Rev and Aaron Grimes (!) cutting through the mix very nicely. Lead vocalist Blacky struts around the stage like he owns it and there’s no doubt that there’s something quite cool going on in the songs, where some nice breaks and interesting compositions are in evidence.

The Howling
The Howling

They’ve clearly cut their teeth well on some high profile supports and are making an appearance at Download later in the year if you fancy checking them out.

The Howling
The Howling

Despite The Howling undoubtedly making some new friends this evening, there’s no confusion with regards who most of the audience have come to see. Vamps! The audience is seemingly composed mainly of young Japanese girls, with the Koko being about 2/3 full. Vamps are huge in Japan but I don’t think they’ve ever been to London before (happy to be corrected). And it’s strange that they should come all this way just for one show because as far as I can see this is a one off.

Vamps
Vamps

As the tension builds it becomes a little clearer why though. The gig is being used to make a live DVD.

There are 3 full sized BIG video cameras out front of house (one on a massive boom, another on a track) and two or three cameras in the photopit. Not a cheap setup and I can only imagine how much this must have cost. Clearly, making a live DVD in London is very important to someone! The upshoot is that there are no decent pictures of Vamps I’m afraid since shooting from the crowd was really not a good approach and the photopit was off limits!

Vamps
Vamps

Anyway, back to the gig, before Vamps take to the stage, there is a real sense of expectation in the audience, as close to adulation as I’ve seen at a rock gig to be honest. As soon as the guys take to the stage the audience are bouncing around, and it carries on like this for the duration of the show!

Vamps
Vamps

The upbeat rock of “Devil Side” serves as a great intro and it doesn’t take much to raise the temperature in the Koko several degrees. The theme continues with “Redrum” and pace aplenty and some nice hooks. The whole band look to be enjoying playing and as normal, the sound in the Koko is pretty decent.

Vamps
Vamps

It’s only when we get “Sweet Dreams” that the pace slows (with some rather nice upright bass touches). While I can see why they would want to include this in the set it does rather break up the nice vibe that was happening imho.

We get treated to a version of “Life On Mars?” which actually sounds pretty good. “Hunting” and “Worlds End” keep the pace and energy flowing nicely. All the while the audience lap every note up as if their lives depended on it.

Vamps
Vamps

“Love Addict” puts in the expected appearance to ensure no one goes home feeling short changted!

Vamps deserve to get a break in the UK, they certainly sound pretty good and have a live show to back up the music – this is to be expected as they’re already a big draw in Japan. I’m just not sure they have that much to set them apart from a lot of other hopeful, young, home grown bands with the exception of a whole lot of backing. That might just be enough to make a difference though!

Vamps
Vamps

Vamps Setlist

DEVIL SIDE
REDRUM
THE PAST
SECRET IN MY HEART
REPLAY
DOLLY
SWEET DREAMS
Life On Mars?
HUNTING
WORLD’S END (English version of “AHEAD”)
ANGEL TRIP
TROUBLE
MIDNIGHT CELEBRATION

Encore:
REVOLUTION II
MEMORIES
LOVE ADDICT
SEX BLOOD ROCK N’ ROLL

Share