Damn Vandals at The Garage
The presence of a 6-foot inflatable T-Rex being dragged out in front of the stage indicated that before the Damn Vandals even began their set at The Garage in Highbury & Islington, it was going to be a fairly tongue-in-cheek affair, which was later confirmed with some gusto by the back-to-back pairing of songs that, singer Jack Kansas grinningly explained, “would offend the pope” and “were written by a three-year-old”.
They play an unpretentious, high velocity, old-fashioned style of rock ‘n’ roll, with plenty of chugging riffs and winding lead guitar parts that sit firmly within the established rock ‘n’ roll mould, instead of trying to smash it to pieces. In fact, they are reminiscent of a less 70s version of glam rock pastiche The Darkness.
The musicianship was high across the whole board, with the stage struggling to contain the nuclear levels of energy the band was giving off. Despite a fairly lacklustre crowd turn-out, it was impressive to see them clearly giving it their all, regardless. It was Jack Kansas who was the focal point of the performance, dressed all in white and stalking the stage with a maniacal grin permanently fixed on his face.
His vocal style is like Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy channelling his best Iggy Pop impression, wavering from vaguely melancholic, baritone semi-spoken passages, right up to high velocity shouts and screams. It’s an arresting and interesting vocal style.
The performance was highly charismatic, exuding an instant likeability and channelling a music that’s not exactly forward-thinking or challenging, but instead revels in its bare bones, down-to-earth attitude and sheer sense of fun.
Photos: Adam Imiolo
For further information and future events visit Damn Vandals’ website here.
Watch the video for Beautiful Mind here: