Band reformations always form differences of opinions but the few thousand people watching Vardis on the main stage at Hard Rock Hell delivered their overwhelmingly positive verdict.
After being apart for almost 30 years, drummer Gary Pearson, after a lot of detective work managed to track down lead guitarist Steve Zodiac and a rehearsal was arranged with the second bass player Terry Horbury. It went so well that their comeback gig was arranged, headlining Brofest last March.
So two summer gigs at Keep It True fest in Germany and another headlining spot at the Custom Rock and Blues fest in Pentrich Derbyshire kept Vardis nicely warmed up for Hard Rock Hell.
Hitting the stage with a raucous ‘Situation Negative’ they seemed even tighter than the earlier 2014 dates with some of the songs stretched out a bit to allow for some jamming. Steve Zodiac belied his 57 years by throwing some serious guitar shapes as he stalked the stage wringing the neck of his guitar.
Gary Pearson seemed intent on demolishing his custom built drum kit as Terry Horbury chose to play his bass guitar as a lead instrument, not content to stand in the shadows providing a steady foil. His Jack Bruce influences were there to hear with some thundering runs and at one point some ear piercing feedback.
Their 11 song set was half based on their debut live album 100MPH. Released in 1980, Vardis still play with the intensity they did 30 years ago. The remainder of the set was built on studio albums ‘The World’s Insane’ and the recently remastered ‘Vigilante’ whichfeatured my song of the set ‘Don’t Mess With The Best, Cos The Best Don’t Mess’.
A slow burning ‘World’s Insane’ gave Steve the chance for some lengthy lead work which was followed by a storming ‘Love Is Dead’. The classic ‘Let’s Go’ should have been followed by possibly their most famous song ‘If I Were King’ but strict stage times did not give them time to play it unfortunately.
No new songs were played from a forthcoming studio album set for a 2015 release but maybe some will get aired when they play a homecoming gig at the Unity Halls in Wakefield on December 13th which is being recorded for a live album release also in 2015.
Review by Dennis Jarman
Photos by Simon Dunkerley
Hard Rock Hell (16 November 2014)
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