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LIVE REVIEW: The Vintage Caravan @ The Ruby Lounge, Manchester

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WORDS: Laura McCarthy PHOTOS: Laura McCarthy

There is a lot to be said for bands that come on to a scene as young, wide eyed and eager, and make a success of themselves. It’s even more impressive if that band has in fact been in existence for well over a decade and isn’t even close to their thirties, and are making waves across the music world for their talents. If you were wondering who that band may be, look no further than THE VINTAGE CARAVAN. Originally from Iceland, the three piece have made a huge impact with their lively shows and unbelievable playing. Having released new album Arrival back in May, the band have taken on their first headlining tour this autumn, finishing the UK leg in Manchester’s Ruby Lounge.

Starting the evening off was MOUNTAIN SONG, a four piece with bright sounds. Perhaps a little more GLASLIGHT ANTHEM than LED ZEPPELIN, they were nonetheless very well played for a first support. Technically speaking, these aren’t the most accomplished performers in terms of their kinetic energy, however they have promising musical quality and the overall tone seemed pretty well received. While short, the set was good fun, and the boys interacted well with the crowd.

Rating: 4/10

Next up was SLY ANTICS, a three piece also local to Manchester. Very much an up and coming band in the local scene, these guys can play hard and fast, creating tension and release with great ease. Influences from a heavier rock sound, with some great, dirty tones and clear, strong vocals made SLY ANTICS a fantastic up-buzz for the main act.

Rating: 6/10

Not long after the end of the last set did THE VINTAGE CARAVAN take to the stage to much jubilance from the crowd. Having formed back in 2006, these young men have both the vigour of youth on their side, a band on the brink of a very successful career, and the solidity of a group who have an understanding of performance that dates back a long time. Kicking off with Craving, the three launched themselves into playing and instantly, this was obviously going to be a good night. The gathering instantly swarmed forward, heads rolled loose on necks and good fun was well underway.

Stefán Ari, the newest member of the band, having taken over drums after the amicable departure of Guðjón Reynisson, was in no way unnerved by the experience, and played with energy and enjoyment. The band paused to say there hello’s and thank you’s to those that had made their way out to see them, and pushed straight on to Midnight Meditation and Babylon there was a definite gratitude both from the band and their onlookers for the overall participation. It’s never a dull gig with THE VINTAGE CARAVAN, but to witness the enthusiasm fans new and old have for this band is truly inspiring. Many feel that newer bands these days do not have the longevity of big names such as JIMMY HENDRIX or DEEP PURPLE, those who have not yet had the pleasure to see THE VINTAGE CARAVAN would do well to revaluate their worries on new music. Eclipsed, a song warped and heavy and Let Me Be a massive song of big ambition, both stunning songs and with masterful performances from all three members were testament to the bands signature style. Alexander Örn on bass, was well and truly a man in the moment. A grin could be glimpsed now and again through the constant thrashing of his head, looking every bit like Chewbacca after one too many Red Bulls and a good helping of Cocaine. Speaking of which, the high powered song of the same namesake, Cocaine went down a storm. Jumping from one spot to another in the blink of an eye, Örn’s energy and enjoyment was infectious, those stood close to him unable to suppress their delight. Shake and Beliefs was obviously well received, and Winterland was a much needed breath, a beautiful moment of calm in the midst of the onslaught of groove and rock. Once that breath was taken, however, the final song Last Day of Light proved still that riffs and huge bassy tones are ever so commanding as the crowd were still eager to loose themselves in Óskar Logi’s insane playing. The longest standing member of the band, Logi is everything you could want in a frontman. Eyes wide and alive all night, playing with soul and uncontainable passion, not to mention stunning technical ability, this young man is a mountain of sound all on his own. He is the man you would want your children to look up to in another decade’s time, as one of the best players of his age. He has worked hard, and obviously enjoys every second of the music the band have created.

The no-nonsense approach to an encore was good fun; “do you want one mo-?” they asked. “EXPAND YOUR MIND!” the mob cried before the guys could finish. They asked, and boy did the band deliver. In the frenzy of the huge sing-along, Logi came down into the throng and played amidst the people. A spectacular end to a wonderful evening.

The heat and sweat of all still clung to the masses as the band started to pack up, and it was clear that something very special had been witnessed. Groups of people lingered to talk with the guys at the bar, to commend them on the performance and talk music. THE VINTAGE CARAVAN have such a passion for music and the likability as people that they are well on their way to be headlining bigger and bigger venues. For those in The Ruby Lounge, it seems obvious that they have been a small part of what is to be a very long and exciting career for these hugely talented and well-deserving young men.

Rating: 9/10

Check out our exclusive photo gallery of the night’s action below:

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