Gig review: TRACER/The Vitals – Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, 8 November 2015

TRACER - Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, 8 November 2015

The Aussie rockers have hit the UK for their headline tour straight off the back of a European support slot with Apocalyptica and are ready to promote and play tracks from their new album ‘Water For Thirsty Dogs’. Despite the rain causing rivers down the roads there is a great turn out and very soon the Slade Rooms has reached its usual hot and sweaty state even before the bands are onstage.

As ever we arrive early for the show to catch the support and tonight is one of those occasions when it was definitely worthwhile, The Vitals a three-piece from Los Angeles, take two guitars, drums and vocals and come out with an exciting heady, spacey mix of high haunting vocals and searing guitar work all on top of a hard edged, hard hitting drum beat and driving riffy guitars.

The Vitals - Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, 8 November 2015

Kicking off with ‘Eel River’ sees vocalist Kate Strand working the mic as guitarist Henrik Linde builds the complex rhythms from looping riffs and plenty of wahwah. ‘Perennial’ has a slow burning proggy side to it that builds to a crescendo of wailing guitars and all the time there is the constant intricate drumming that Dylan Howard delivers with precise and powerful bursts of energy.

The Vitals - Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, 8 November 2015

Final track is ‘Wait’ from their 2015 EP ‘Gold Night’ which again allows the distinctive vocals to ride above complex layers of guitars and provides a fitting end to a great set.  The whole sound has a 60′s psychedelic feel but with a nice punky/rock edge that comes through in some of the tracks, one to watch out for next year.

The Vitals - Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, 8 November 2015

We haven’t seen Tracer for a while now so this is a well overdue gig for us and we have been looking forward to hearing the new material and seeing how its fits in after the hard hitting dark album ‘El Pistolero’.

Kicking off with title track ‘Water For Thirsty Dogs’, Michael’s distinctive vocals belt out of the PA and then in come the big riffs, hammering bass lines, and tight heavy drums.

Tracer - Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, 8 November 2015

The new tracks still hold the basic feel that runs through most of the Tracer work with a few radio friendly one’s thrown in, ‘Homeward Bound’ being one of these which is in fact the new video single that included some fan members holding up placards of what they miss when there away. Midway through a few of the crowd faves in ‘Devil Ride’ and ‘Spaces In Between’ and, my pet hate, a medley of a few tracks: I’d rather hear 1 less track than a medley!

Tracer - Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, 8 November 2015

They certainly put 110% into their performance, I don’t know how Jett manages to bend over so far without falling backwards a he hammers out the notes and Andre’s constant hard heavy drumming leaves him looking dishevelled but still hitting the beat.

Finishing the main set with another new track ‘Us Against The World’ and from what I have heard tonight the new stuff while following the familiar Tracer vein has enough to make it stand out on its own from the other albums.

Tracer - Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, 8 November 2015

They come back for an encore of two more new tracks, ‘Lazy’ an aptly titled slow burner allowing Michael’s vocal to shine out and finally finishing with the hard hitting ‘Astronaut/Juggernaut’.  I have to say this is one of the best sets I have ever seen them play, maybe it’s because they are gig ready after playing the tour with Apocalyptica or maybe it’s just we haven’t see them for so long but, whatever, they totally nailed the set tonight.

Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley

Setlist
The Vitals: Eel River, Faith, Bones, Hands, Perennial, Wait
Tracer: Water For Thirsty Dogs, El Pistolero, We’re Only Animals, Too Much, Voice In The Rain, Devil Ride, Medley: Hangman/Now I Ride/Dead Garden, Homeward Bound, Wrecking Ball, There’s A Man, Spaces In Between, Halfway To Zero, Us Against The World Encore: Lazy, Astronaut Juggernaut

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