Fresh off launching their debut LP Through the Walls, The Vanns rolled into town and played a rocking gig at the Lion Arts Factory as part of a national tour for their new album.
Since their inception at a Wollongong band competition in 2013, The Vanns have developed a reputation as one of Australia’s best up-and-coming live performers, having supported bands like Catfish and the Bottlemen, Ocean Alley and Hippo Campus over the last two years. They’ve become one of the nation’s most in-demand young bands in the Australian indie and alt-rock scene, having played at Party In The Paddock, Big Pineapple Festival and Yours and Owls Festival, as well as having their debut LP showcased as the feature album on Triple J recently.
Local band Venice Queens opened proceedings with their groovy tunes and catchy melodic vocals, while East Coast garage rockers Pacific Avenue really got the party started before The Vanns took to the stage. Although it was a ‘work night’, it didn’t stop the near-capacity crowd enjoying The Vanns indie rock belters. With three EPs and a new album under their belt, the band had loads of material to choose from and certainly pleased the crowd with their choices. They launched the night with last year’s single How Was I Supposed to Know? and went on to play older fan-favourites, as well as new ones, all of which have a classic rock, feel that suit their live sound so well.
They performed staples of their live show like Skinny Legs, Rage, Keep My Cool, You And I, before launching into the latest single Deranged. The Vanns somehow manage to balance a sense of coolness about their performance without seeming pretentious and share moments of sincerity through their light-hearted humour. The band went into their biggest hit Belmore St (which has over 2 million streams on Spotify) before the crowd erupted for a cover of the Bruce Springsteen classic Dancing In The Dark.
Things started getting extra rowdy, as chants of a ‘Shoey’ rang out throughout the venue after the Boss’ song. Lead singer Jimmy Vann claimed to be a self-professed ‘Shoey’ virgin. He said “if you let me sing my song, I’ll do a Shoey.” And that’s exactly what he did. After performing crooning ballad Chelsea, Jimmy pulled out his oxford boot and started pouring his beer straight into his shoe to the cheers of the entire crowd. While he struggled through the drink and might not have liked a soggy foot the rest of the night, he certainly earned the respect, admiration and hearts of the Adelaide crowd.
The band followed this boisterous act with the soothing chords of Mother — one of their breakout singles of the year — before they transitioned the song into a belting rock-fest. They finished the set with Fake Friends and jumped off stage for a quick interval before returning for an encore. They thanked the Adelaide crowd for their support and energy, as Jimmy said “it’s been really fun, you’ve been better than Melbourne, just don’t tell them.” Don’t worry Jimmy, if you guys keep playing like that we won’t. The encore turned into an all out celebration, with the band performing Jules Said and finishing with Sunday to Sunday, as the support acts took the opportunity to get back on stage to jump around and share a boogie. As the last chord was struck the feedback from the amps rang out throughout the venue and the crowd left Lion Arts Factory feeling equal parts satisfied and hungry for more. It might’ve been the last time The Vanns performed in Adelaide for the year, but their trajectory means they’ll be back soon enough, and it looks like they’re primed for a big 2020.
Words – Jesse Neill
Photos – Supplied by Lion Arts Factory