Concert Review

Bob Vylan – Sold Out But No Sell Out!

Bob Vylan brought Grime to Glasgow and Sold Out The Garage

Pictures and Words – Steve Oi!

Rescheduled from 14th Nov, Bob Vylan were finally in Glasgow as part of their ‘Viva La Vylan’ tour. The support line up had changed, and Glasgow Electro-Punkers ‘Vlure’ opened the show as opposed to ‘Panic Shack’ and ‘Kid Bookie’ who were originally billed as the support. Vlure’s Prodigy-esk vibe kicked off proceedings with driving bass and drum tracks. Lighting was minimalistic, simple and lacked luminance. The crowd was filling up nicely and were awarded with a back-lit stage lighting shrouding the band in darkness. The five dark figures twisted and turned through their set with occasional flashes of colour from behind. They played an impressive set and set the bar for set what was to follow, in the form of BOB VYLAN!

Bob Vylan is killing Punk Rock. This tongue- in -cheek phrase can be interpreted in two different ways. Having first seen Bob Vylan at Rebellion Festivals, in Blackpool a few years ago, I was impressed by the duo’s performance, stage presence and style. The lyrics express dismay at contemporary society and explore pressing concerns such as racism, fascism and authority figures’ rule. The lyrical stylings providing a topical narrative that hit home with the assembled crowd and Glasgow has never been too keen on Tories and the political elite.

Bob Vylan’s set started out with the familiar ‘Guided Meditation and Light Stretching’ The tall figure silhouetted against the occasional splash of yellows and red, struck poses and shapes associated with exercise methods, all along to a standardised soundtrack that has become the ‘first-track’ calling card of a live Bob Vylan set. Sadly, venues see this offering and cast it as one of the three songs for photographers to shoot, so after snapping a few shots of this, there is technically only two actual songs to photograph.  Some venues give you an extra, but not tonight! There has been a rise in duo music acts in recent years and the type of music appeals to Punk, Rap, Indy and Grim fans alike. One could surmise that Grim as a musical genre is a natural progression and evolved form of Punk. The attitude is the same, a distain towards authority and Governmental rulings and governance. This echoes much of the ‘77’ ethos. Bob Vylan’s live vocals set against a live drum track, set against a pre recorded track is the established model for Bob Vylan and is working well. Is Bob Vylan the 2023 equal to 1971’s A Clock Work Orange (film) The renegade outlaw, a cricket bat yielding anti-hero image certainly conjures up that image.

Bob Vylan has certainly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with given their outspoken on and off-stage views and music, shaped to fit today’s narrative. Boomers, Gen-X’ers and Millennials alike pour into their shows. The Boomers’ in CRASS and Discharge T- shirts, the X-Gen ers in their Wu-Tang and Millennials in their Billie Eilish. What’s true is that Bob Vylan’s appeal net is wide and continually dredging up new fans from every musical corner of the musical spectrum and I’m happy with that.

The night strode on with songs such as ‘I Heard You Want Your country Back’ ‘Pulled Pork’ ‘He Sold Guns’ and ‘Wicked and Bad’, to name a few. In total I counted 17 songs that all helped in some way to achieving award wins from prestigious industry giants such as ‘Kerrang! Awards and MOBO. I’d hasten to add that the two Bobs should probably make some more room on their shelves as next award season rolls around.

You can check out more about Bob Vylan dates and merch here and if you get the chance to go see them please do as you’re in for one hell of an energetic live performance.

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