Monday, 4 March 2013

The Vex - LIVE@Barfly

The Barfly – Friday 1st March

Tonight I am in the crowd at Camden Town’s Barfly for The Vex’s single launch for their single ‘Martyr’ and obviously I’m hidden in a corner looking like someone’s cranky old man or worse still a narc. The Vex on the other hand are scattered throughout the crowd mixed in with the crowd with friends and fans alike and in a very un-usual turn of events for a headliner act actually watch both support acts before taking to the stage themselves.

I have seen The Vex 3 times and each time am filled with the same excitement that turns me from a chin stroking gig reviewer into a skirt wetting Beatles fan within a few seconds into ‘The Revolutionaries’ (their opener). On stage they look like the last gang in town, part Star-Club era Beatles, part Clash. They aren’t pulling messianic poses or keeping one eye on the photographer they are there to do a job and give the crowd a good night, and they deliver on each promise.

The Vex aren’t for sale and aren’t part of some con by trying to convince you to like them with some musical hard sell, instead they take the roots of rock and roll and remind everyone what the music was supposed to be about when Muddy Waters electrified the blues and brought guitar music from the delta to the city. THIS IS CITY MUSIC!

Unlike the majority of wannabes they actually walk the walk rather than just name-check the right bands and utter the occasional punk platitude. The Vex mean what they say and indeed say what they mean without apology or second thought. The group amble on stage around 9:30pm and drop straight into the set at 100mph without letting up until the end with such intensity and fire that The Ramones would be forgiven for checking their watches as each song rarely clocks in above the 3 minute mark. Songs such as ‘A Fool’s Desire’, ‘The Law of Cause of Effect’ and the new ‘Burning Day & Night’ are raw, tight and hooky as hell with both punk and SKA showing influences throughout.

The Vex

The single being promoted tonight is ‘Martyr’, a track about the recent Pussy Riot arrests in Russia that although only sneaking a fag paper over 2 minutes in length manages to sound both complete and full. The song length for me is simply a reflection of the times we live in, after all people are busy, busy, busy and on a Friday night with a fistful of whatever wages the faces in the crowd have scraped together they simply don’t have time for lighter waving anthems that are best off left to play under X-Factor heartbreak montages , they want to exorcise the weekly grind and enjoy their weekends until the nightmare of the Monday morning alarm.

2013 will be the year The Vex make their mark no doubt and with festival season rapidly approaching you’d be a fool to miss out on the rock and roll train this early in their career. Get in early for a change and be on the cusp of the wave before it finally breaks.

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