Dublin four-piece The Vagaries suit their name quite well, as in “Vagaries” meaning “an unpredictable, erratic action, occurrence, course or instance”. The Vagaries stand out – like a sore thumb actually. Not in any recent years have I personally seen a band that remind me of a young Kings Of Leon, in the sense that they are dedicated, talented, raw, unsculpted and as a collective – pose the potential to be a firm festival favourite in years to come. Their musical touchstones hark back to an earlier time before the new indie’s musical year zero (sometime around the Arctic Monkey’s arrival I would guess). Listening to the band’s soundcloud beforehand, one can here the melodic influence of the Kinks and Squeeze added to the more musculature sound of early Britpop, happily without the macho posturing of the latter however.
On Friday the 13th of May 2016, The Vagaries proved what they are capable of. Within the intimate surroundings of Wexford Streets’ finest Whelan’s – the set starts out with ‘Beautiful Fool’ and the room fills up to the sound of the songs huge drum fills and T-Rex like guitar signature and booming chorus. Played at a tempo quicker than the record it’s a blast but certainly not one for the faint hearted. Then comes the duet ‘Marilyn’ which is a fun grunge paced oddity followed by a rendition of Oasis’ ‘Supersonic’ done with some gusto. The crowd are settled by this point and the bands rapport with their audience is a high point (Light heartedly sardonic and appreciative). At one point the band hand out fake moustaches to the audience for a rendition of their ‘Moustache Lady’ (a quirky highlight) and inflated beach balls reign down during their calling card song ‘Before’ which is such a stormer that is surely going to be the band’s debut single. The set ends with the galloping stomp of ‘Kathleen’ with the tremors of the floor tom reaching all the way from the stage to the merchandise stand signifying a possible festival anthem for the future before culminating in the raucous, if a little unfocused cover of the Beatles ‘Back in the USSR’.
So pretty much what you would want from an unsigned indie gig then; short, sharp and authentic. There are faults though, the band are not fully road tested yet and some songs are clearly stronger than others in the set and their visual look is obviously not yet fully cultivated. Grooming hipsters ain’t easy these days ya know. However, they may not have a lavish stylist at hand backstage pre-gig, regardless, with so many adoring ladies up front for this show… many might oblige for such vacancies gents. These are only small things however and for now The Vagaries have lived up to their name which is constantly growing “an unpredictable, erratic action, occurrence course or instance”, so not bad for a tenner then.
Speaking to lead vocalist Jon D. afterwards – apparently The Vagaries are already scheduling recording of their debut LP with Welsh producer Owen Morris (Oasis, The Verve, The View) at the helm. If that guy shows an interest – we very well believe there is definitely (maybe) something there and this band shall prosper… very quickly.
I certainly want more. Watch out.
Brendan Mc Elroy
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