Gig Review by Kirsty Hillyer / Gig Photography by Lee Allen (See the complete photo set on our Flick page)

Vinnie (18 of 39)

It was just over 11 years ago that I first saw Vinnie perform in Brum in The Movielife at the Flapper and Firkin; so to say I was a little excited to see Vinnie play solo acoustic would be an understatement. With my objective reviewer head on it can be hard to lose yourself to the music and the moment but Vinnie didn’t disappoint.

Vinnie (20 of 39)

However, other influencing factors hampered my experience, so before I get to the nitty gritty on this review I feel a gig going public service announcement is called for. If you are a die-hard gig going muso then I will not be offended if you skip this next part to get to my actual review. For those who see gigs predominantly as a fashion show and hook up night, pay attention.

Vinnie (25 of 39)

The word GIG has several meanings, in this context it means:

gig
noun
a live performance by a musician or group

However some people seem to think it’s:

gig
noun
a harpoon-like weapon used for catching fish

Vinnie (19 of 39)

This latter definition seems to result in over zealous chatter and guffaws as guys show off to their mates and try really hard to impress a girl and likewise girls are employing all womanly flirtatious charms to entice some boy, girl or other. I have discovered that I am not the only gig goer filled with such vitriolic frustration that this behaviour is standard issue at all gigs now. So I am implore, to you loud mouthed, over zealous, chatterers the following:

SHUT THE MUTHA F-ING UP or whisper
SHOW SOME RESPECT
EMBRACE MANNERS

Finally, when the acts politely ask you to shush it for a quiet one then stop, pause and listen for a few minutes, which is sadly not what happened for Rob Lynch. I’m sure the world isn’t likely to end in that time and prevent you from sharing that extremely important nonsense you were about to espouse to the person next to you. It can wait till changeover. If you’ve paid to see a show at least stop and listen. That is all.

Maycomb
maycomb supporting Vinnie (6 of 9)
maycomb supporting Vinnie (8 of 9)

Sooooooo besides the backdrop of chatter heard by the acts and the front row fans, what actually happened and should you be gutted you missed it?

maycomb supporting Vinnie (9 of 9)

Local band Maycomb, of Wolverhampton, was first up. Apparently they are a four piece full band that seems to be waylaid, with acoustic show after acoustic show becoming their norm. As a local band they have an entourage of support from fan girls and friends. At times they are melodically reminiscent of the Copperpot Journals but as a rule of thumb their tweeness makes me wonder if I’m not listening to a contemporary Portland Bill soundtrack. Lacking in range and with saccharine harmonies their attempts to successfully cover and make their own Alkaline Trio’s ‘I was a Prayer’ and Jimmy Eat World’s ‘A Praise Chorus’ was left wanton.

Rob Lynch
rob lynch supporting Vinnie (2 of 15)
rob lynch supporting Vinnie (9 of 15)

They’re a band that needs to grow some balls, find some urgency and passion for what they are doing and show a commitment to music that makes you want to hear more. As it was they seemed to run over thanks to a 10minute diatribe, claiming to be an awesome anecdote with a killer punch line that went on and on and on. I don’t want to bore you or give it further credence but needless to say it felt like discarded Frank Turner song. This display of inane ramblings was even lovingly mocked by the next man up, Rob Lynch, who was the complete antithesis of Maycomb.

rob lynch supporting Vinnie (8 of 15)

As a resident Londoner the twang to the accent is there when he sings and can take a little to get used to. Rob Lynch is clearly a talented fellow, with a drive and sense of hunger for sharing his music. ‘Whiskey’, a reminiscence song about an intense drinking moment shared with his dearly departed father, was the turning point in the set for me when the goose bumps started to rise. He went from talented but not quite for me to an interesting proposition.

rob lynch supporting Vinnie (13 of 15)

His commitment to writing, performing and being poor on the road is shared through stories of trips across the states and staying up to catch the first train home as he is set to undertake his biggest performance to date at Groezrock festival, Germany. With his chatty banter and smiley demeanour he is definitely one to check out and take the time to listen to, plus he has good merch and has just been added to the Download line-up.

Vinnie (35 of 39)
Vinnie (29 of 39)

Finally it’s Vinnie time, an affable fellow with a punk rock pedigree that has gained him a loyal fan base. Having put out a debut sole EP on Xtra Mile earlier in the year these tracks are performed amidst the perfect mix of The Movielife and I am the Avalanche. Kicking off with Avalanche’s ‘Symphony’ and ‘This One’s On Me’, the power and balls in this slight guy’s voice make the front row visibly take a step back. After joking he used to be in Nickleback, Vinnie offers up ‘Hey’ from The Movelife’s ‘Jamestown’ album, as well as ‘Sailor Tattoos’. And so the set moves back and forth mixed with the new EP tracks.

Vinnie (30 of 39)

The most raucous crowd pleasers were from The Moveilife’s ‘Gambling Problem’ EP. Personally the big highlight was ’10 Seconds Too Late’, a classic break-up song of devastation, the song is raw and fraught with visceral imagery. Hearing this song performed over 10 years after I first heard it performed in Birmingham was a goose bump overdrive, the song was given a new lease of life. This acoustic rendition of a track I’ve probably listened to monthly over the last 13 years somehow felt dirtier and grungier than ever before.

Vinnie (28 of 39)

As a stickler for vinyl and physical objects I only download music if it’s free so hadn’t really listened to the new EP much, but thanks to Run for Cover Records I can now I have it on shiny vinyl. ‘To be Dead and in Love’ is the stand out song of Vinnie’s new solo work, his ability to express his experiences and emotions with such evocative and concise imagery is a testament to his songwriting and the power of his delivery. If you don’t know who this guy is but maybe have heard of the bands he’s been in and love your ever middling Frank Turner then I urge you to move on already and start listening to Vinnie Caruana.

Vinnie (16 of 39)
Vinnie (11 of 39)

From playful crowd banter, humble musings and a roomful of out pouring that projects into your soul, you should have been there.

Vinnie (10 of 39)
Vinnie (7 of 39)

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