One of Glasgow’s finest, The Vaselines, had fans swaying during their songs and in stitches between at The Bell House on Friday night. The once fairly enigmatic band have been going more steady since 2008 and released their third full-length record, V For Vaslines, last year. The album is packed with their customarily catchy tunes and two-part vocal harmonies; unfairly flying under the radar of critics best-of lists.
The interplay is not just left to sharing vocal duties; Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee’s hilarious and often ruthless banter with one another was almost worth the cost of admission alone. The art of between-song entertainment appears to on the wane in my gig-going experience so it’s always a joy to have that side of a show on point.
The band were last in New York in 2012, where they also played The Bell House, but this was the first time I’d managed to catch them. The closest I had gotten before was seeing Eugene Kelly perform a solo set supporting Teenage Fanclub in Oxford well over a decade ago. The Bell House is possibly New York’s finest venue these days, and the only one I can think of that seems to give a damn about serving good beer, the sound is always good and the wide room means everyone gets a decent view.
The show was opened by Philadelphians Amanda X, who were a more than suitable support act. The trio’s 2014 record, Amnesia, continues the recent trend of ’90s influenced guitar acts that have sprung up in the last couple of years. I enjoyed their set a lot although it did remind me with a pang of remorse that I don’t have a ticket to see Sleater Kinney next month.
While the loudest cheers are reserved for the songs Nirvana covered back in the day: Molly’s Lips, Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam and the set closing Son of a Gun, it’s heartening that the majority of attendees seem genuine fans of the band rather than curious grungers. The setlist was spread equally between the last two albums and assorted classics of yesteryear. Be sure to catch The Vaselines the next time they’re in town for a rocking and rollicking time!
The Day I Was a Horse
High Tide Low Tide
Sex with an X
One Lost Year
Such a Fool
I Hate the 80s
Earth is Speeding
Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam
Devil Inside Me
Let’s Get Ugly
Son of a Gun
A couple of bonus videos I took…