Being an equal opportunity Jack Russell, Ralph's added to his squad (OK there's one guy) of reviewers in Scotland. What better occasion for a first time review than to send photographer Kate Johnston into the fray for the first time than Vigo Thieves sold out headline show in The Arches Glasgow. Vigo Thieves are on the verge of greatness yet remain unsigned, but not for long with such a strong live set and a list of stellar performances including Wickerman, T in the Park and two sell out shows in King Tuts. They were supported on the night by Dundee band Model Aeroplanes and the aptly named Glasgow band Arches.
So I'll let budding band photographer Kate Johnston set the scene via words and her most excellent pictures...
With a difficult time slot to fill, Model Aeroplanes began to play their set to a crowd who were more pre-occupied with socializing at the bar. Set in the stunning underground venue that is The Arches, the confident voice from the lead man was whole-heartedly supported by pitch-perfect harmonies from the other guitarist and bassist throughout each of their songs.
However, each track was not clearly distinguishable, with a lot of the music sounding very similar to previous tracks with little variation. The size of the crowd picked up around the front barrier as Model Aeroplanes launched into their last track of the night, letting the last chord ring out, then coming back in with a final short drum fill to finish their set and make way for the next set.
With a pre-recorded track playing in the background, the second supporting act, Arches, arrive on stage and launch into their set list, much to the delight of the audience. Bumping the microphone off his chest and swaying with his hands wrapped around the stand, front man Michael Rice’s voice rings out into the crowd as he asks them if they are having fun. Answered by screaming, Arches continue with their incredible set of tracks – definitely an up-and-coming band that are worth listening to.
After their second to last song, When The Night Ends comes to a close, the band announces that they have one last track to play before giving way to headliners, Vigo Thieves. After a quick group huddle around the drum kit, Rice turns round and breaks the news to the crowd that they are not being allowed to play their final song. They give their thanks, apologize and leave behind a disappointed audience.
They're not disappointed for long – Vigo Thieves arrive on stage welcomed by a thunderous roar from the crowd 'underneath the arches'. Glowsticks had been distributed during the last band’s set, and almost every member of the audience was raising their arms to the roof, neon blue sticks aloft. After three tries, the crowd was loud enough in answering lead man Stevie Jukes’ question: “Glasgow, are you ready to blow this roof off?”.
A set list including a new song and some crowd surfing, the crowd that was gathered underneath the arches were in for an incredible night of music from Glasgow’s hottest unsigned band. Having played at T in the Park and supporting The View, Vigo Thieves should have been no strangers to such a large crowd.
“The other night we played for a group of about thirty people, and then we come here and there’s seven-hundred of you. It’s crazy”, Jukes tells the crowd as they push further and further forward against the front barrier, threatening to bring it down. The boys surprise the audience by performing a stripped down version of their hit, ‘Heartbeats’ and receive a mass of noise from under every arch in appreciation.
Exiting the stage after a short encore, Vigo Thieves provided every audience member a memorable night, and one that they will no doubt want to experience again. Watch out for these boys in 2014, you’ll be proud to say you knew them before they got big. Which they will.