Into Music Live Review: Vibration Festival
Concert: Vibration Festival
Venue: Callendar Park Falkirk
Date: 3 September 2022
Vibration Festival made a welcome return to the splendid grounds of Falkirk’s Callendar Park on the weekend of 3rd/4th September and Into Creative were there on the Saturday to enjoy the fine and varied array of performers on view.
The festival organisers really had the set up spot on. With four stages (Main, Secret Disco, Breakthrough and Acoustic) on the go from noon through to 10.30pm there was lots of choice. Add in a silent disco, plenty of artisan food stalls, bars, arts and crafts plus shows for the thrill seekers and what’s not to like? Well, now that I mention it, the weather was a little wet, particularly during The Charlatans set, however most had taken the necessary precautions to bring rainwear and hardly seemed to notice, the vibe was that good.
Of course, with so much going on, we had to plot our way wisely on who to watch. First up was Snash over on the Breakthrough Stage. Fresh from recently supporting Bob Vylan, the Glasgow proto punks left nothing at the door in an enthralling short but energetic show. Lead singer Connan leading the way, the highlight being the heavy blitzkrieg bop sound of War Of The Classes (W.O.T.C.).
A quick hop over to the Main Stage saw the Falkirk debut of Dead Pony, a band who are pretty much on everyone’s ‘next big thing’ list and on this showing, that was no surprise.
The band started their set with new single War Boys, released a mere 24 hours beforehand. This visceral assault on the senses paved the way for a fantastic set by the Glasgow four piece. Despite the early timing of their slot, the band owned and rocked the joint, tracks like Sex Rich, Bullet Farm and the set closing 23, Never Me delivered with intensity and a crisp, tight sound. Check them out if you get the chance.
Back over at the Breakthrough Stage, I could hear the distant sounds of banjo, accordion and a distinct Scottish vocal. Brogeal are a band, based in and around Falkirk who delivered a celtic sounding set which was ace. Not a band I knew but on this showing they’ve won a new fan. And given the crowd in attendance, I’m sure those numbers will have grown by quite a few. Part old school Pogues, part gallusness of The View, their music was a complete breath of fresh air.
The Twang produced a festival worthy set, starting off with 2009 single Barney Rubble before following up with a sublime Back Where We Started. Frontman Phil Etheridge backed by a solid band had license to dictate the vibe, keeping the crowd onside as the tunes flowed in the late summer evening. Their cover of Bran Van 3000’s Drinking In L.A. was especially cool, all laid back funk, harmonious, melodic, perfect.
Meanwhile, over at the Acoustic Stage, Taz & the Maniacs were going through an assured set. The three-piece played songs from the band’s 2020 debut album Peace & Love such as the Americana tinged The Swamp and the quite brilliant Wonderland. A bonus was hearing new single Numb which had just been released and on this form, it bodes well for new material from the Falkirk based band.
As the sun set, The Zutons took to the stage, the Liverpudlians playing what I can only describe as a scintillating set that the local crowd lapped up and then some. Early on, Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love? rolled along, singer Dave McCabe leading the way while Abi Harding’s twin vocal and pulsing saxophone drove the song while the guitar/bass/drums/keyboards flowed in, out and across the track, impressive.
The pure, throwaway power of Remember Me was majestic in its simplicity, a three minute odyssey of Mersey pop. A closing double of Valerie and You Will You Won’t was simply ridiculous (in a good way) and left the audience awestruck by what they’d experienced.
How to follow that? Almost impossible but then again, The Charlatans aren’t one of the great headline bands for no reason, no sirree! Despite the rain at this point, the crowd hardly noticed as the indie rockers went through what was a “best of” set with their usual aplomb. Not many bands have songs as good as Weirdo, Can’t Get Out Of Bed and Then which to end their set with, let alone start with but that opening trio set the scene for an hour or so of hit after hit after hit.
Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over was a particular highlight, starting off with an acoustic feel with Mark Collins on guitar leading the band as the song built, his solo drifting off into the night sky. The band, of course, is as tight AF. Martin Blunt on bass was totally on point with the drums of Pete Salisbury while vocalist Tim Burgess simply owns the stage, a better front man you’ll struggle to find.
Following up with You’re So Pretty – We’re So Pretty I didn’t think there was anywhere for the band to go, had they peaked too early? More fool me….the band had yet to throw in The Only One I Know, How High before returning to the stage with an epic nine minute set closing Sproston Green, the stage lit up in emerald green, it was quite the sight on what was, an eventful and exhilarating Saturday.
All in, Vibration Festival in Falkirk was an absolute triumph, the mix of acts had enough variety to satisfy all those in attendance and I for one will be doing it all again next year, you should too!