The VANNS | Live at Shebeen

November 20th, 2014 | Shebeen

Discovering bands that tickle your fancy in one way or another is a very beautiful thing. Needless to say, my discovery of The VANNS was a phenomenal experience. With this very laid back, surf-inspired, husky, Kings Of Leon-circa Aha Shake Heartbreak vibe, it was almost inevitable for me to discover the trio from Kiama. It also doesn’t hurt that the three band members in question are extremely easy on the eyes. Much like Nikki Reed’s character in Lords Of Dogtown exclaims, “I can’t help it, I love long hair.” You and me both, sista.

Watching the band take the stage at Shebeen, it was evident that the band members – James Vann (guitar/vocals), Adam Bernich (bass) and Lachlan Jones (drums) – came from a surfy background. They were cool, ‘laxed. It was almost as if they were taking to the stage much in the same way that they would prepare for a band practice. In their element, the lads played through a multitude of songs – predominantly all new; each of which rarely varied from the last or the next.

As strong as Vann’s voice is, the range of vocals seldom changed between one song to another. Not to say whether that is a positive or negative thing. I tell you now, the dude has a set of solid pipes on him.

This was their show – The VANNS in their element. The crowd itself was very much one way or another; dancing free and carelessly at the front of the stage, or swaying in their spots. It was evident that this very humid Melbourne night called for an ice cold beer and guitar tunes.

Much to the surprise/delight of the crowd, the band split up their set with a cover of the awe-inspiring Jeff Buckley classic, Last Goodbye. Hearing them introduce the song, my ears perked up. As much of a fan I am of incredible song covers, I often live by the mantra of “Why fuck with a good thing?” – especially in relation to artists covering classic tracks. The fact that they would be taking on one of the most quintessential songs of the 90s from a fallen musical hero? Well, the proof was in the pudding.

Where Vann explained to the crowd that the cover was still “pretty rusty”, it was obvious that each one of them was a fan of the song. Whether they did it justice or not, however, is another story altogether. Much like my aforementioned mantra, it may have been better for the lads to completely get the song down-pat prior to performing it live. I’m sorry, but you just don’t fuck with Jeff Buckley. Where there are high notes to be hit, you hit them.

All in all, the gig was an enjoyable one. And for this Kiama-trio, the foundations and makings of a solid band are there. Massive kudos to The VANNS!


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