2014 saw the first live dates from the reformed Vardis since way back in the 80’s and with five great gigs under their belt they seemed to be on a roll with new material and album releases planned.
However after the sudden departure of drummer Gary Pearson earlier this year due to work commitments loyal fans thought the comeback would stall, but with the announcement of new drummer Joe Clancy coming fairly quick, and a series of live dates along with a projected EP, things were looking rosy again. Founder Steve Zodiac mentioned that ‘once they reformed and had got the creative process going there was no way he was going to let it go’.
Not the biggest turnout but the amassed crowd of loyal fans were about to see if Joe could cut the mustard and put simply ‘He Can’. They kicked off with a surprisingly good rendition of Hawkwind’s ‘Silver Machine’ which ironically was the Hawks only hit and had Lemmy on vocal duties much to Dave Brock’s annoyance but tonight the Steve Zodiac was on form and did justice to this great track.
Next powering through ‘Lions Share’ and ‘Radio Rockers’ it easy to see that Joe is hitting the mark, with a slightly more relaxed style to Gary he is certainly on the beat and fitting in well. Steve is as ever on form and throws the old moves albeit without the long flowing hair, and the interplay with Terry show that they are enjoying playing the tracks again.
Whilst we are all waiting for the release of the first new material since the 80′s, which has been promised in the next few months, tonight we are treated to one new song in the form of ‘Jolly Roger’ and as Steve said “we all need some Pirate Rock in our lives”.
Rolling on through the setlist, which is similar to the Wakefield gig last year, we get the hard boogie song ‘Dirty Money’ and ‘Gary Glitter PT1′ which see’s Steve wringing out the solos on his faithful Telecaster and taking control of Terry’s wah-wah pedal as he thunders out the deeps bass lines, before they slow things down a bit with the deep and bluesy ‘Worlds Insane’. There is even time for Joe to slot in a drum solo before we start winding up to the gig, an encore of ‘Situation Negative’ and ‘Lets Go’ bring the night screeching to an end.
This is definitely not the end of Vardis but the beginning of the next leg of their musical journey and with the new material imminent and the next gig planned for July 18th at Bush Hall in London where they have a double headline with Diamond Head.
Setlist: Silver Machine, Lions Share, Radio Rockers, Move Along, Jolly Roger, Dirty Money, GG Pt1, World’s Insane, Love is Dead, Don’t Mess, Drum Solo, Mods And Rockers, Shoot Straight, Loser, King, Encore: Situation Negative, Let’s Go.
Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley
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