The Van T’s show that they’re a hard act to follow with a scintillating support slot at Stereo.
2016 has been a weird – and sometimes distressing – year, but it’s been a pretty successful one for The Van T’s. Along with the release of their critically acclaimed EP ‘A Coming Of Age’ in July and the nomination for Best Rock/Alternative act at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards, the Glasgow four-piece have played festivals and numerous support slots for the likes of Yuck and Rat Boy. On a freezing Friday night in their hometown, they’re at it again – following fellow Glasgow band Acrylic on to the stage as support for exciting Edinburgh duo Man Of Moon.
The Van T’s take to the stage and get straight to work on the lukewarm audience, as the pounding drums and whirling guitars drag the crowd straight into the thundering snarl of ‘No Man’s Money’. “That song was about Donald Trump and how we hate Donald Trump” Hannah Van Thompson tells the crowd, adding “Fuck Donald Trump” to a rousing cheer. They then state that they’re going to play some songs for us, which sounds simple enough but quickly proves to be a massive understatement as ‘35mm’ then delivers the perfect shot of swaying surf blended with crunching rock. It’s heavy, rather than breezy, but doesn’t lose any of their distinctive sound.
The band plays Pulp Fiction’s iconic theme song, ‘Misirlou’, before shifting into ‘Growler’ – providing an opportunity to appreciate the power of Joanne Forbes on bass and Shaun Hood on drums. This rhythm section drives the song forward while the gorgeous harmonies and punky shouts of the Van Thompson twins soar on their guitar riffs. ‘Laguna Babe’ then sounds as if it’s in a race with itself – hurtling towards its raucous conclusion. The pace and power wind up further with the reverb-fuelled double-bill of ‘Dandy’ and ‘Blood Orange’ before cranking up to the full-on set finale ‘Fun Garçon’. The ridiculously catchy “it’s Armageddon, I’m gonna get him” thumps along like a heartbeat.
Over the past year, The Van T’s have developed a captivating performance that perfectly compliments their unique sound. Each member of the band commands the stage, but without arrogance. This a band that simply makes you want to become their fifth member.
As the screaming guitars reach their climax, it’s noticeable that the disinterested audience that were having to be coaxed towards the stage are now much closer – their attention grabbed. It’s a tough act for Man Of Moon to follow.
‘A Coming Of Age’ really was a coming of age for The Van T’s in 2016. Now 2017 beckons and headline slots are, thankfully, getting booked. Now it’s a case of where The Van T’s lead, others can only follow.
Photos © Rhiannon Law