“We don’t really do acoustic performances” Mattie Vant said as he clambered round half a drum kit and negotiated a stationary cash desk “Anyone got anything they’d like us to play?”.
On the 23rd February 2017, VANT played the first of two shows at Kingston’s Banquet Records. The first show, the one I went to, was an under 18’s, 6pm in-store. The band played a “choose your own” seven song set, followed by an in-store signing and it was beyond brilliant.
A voice from the front shouted “Karma Seeker” before the band chatted about the arrangement and seamlessly broke into the opening bars of Karma Seeker, from their debut album, Dumb Blood, which was released a week prior to the set. There’s no stage. Just the (full) band on the carpet at the front of a tiny record shop. They continue to pick members of the audience to choose songs for them to play and ended up rattling through a broad selection songs from their debut album and previous EPs, such as ‘Parking Lot’, ‘Lampoon’ and ‘Fly-by Alien’.
The highlight of the set was the “heavy version” of their single ‘Peace and Love’, a particularly poignant and relevant song in today’s world. The full band played along in what could’ve been an arena performance, despite the unusual, quirky, yet overtly charming set up.
After the set, the band- who were equally as brilliant as their set- stayed behind to sign albums and chat to fans. We chatted for a bit about how good the debut album was and how refreshingly different it is and it was great to hear how full of genuine appreciation they were.
This little set really showed the band’s professional versatility and down to earth presence. Their music stands for something understated and under represented by today’s society and that’s what makes it cool (don’t forget their anti-Trump impromptu London sets last November). It’s protest music leaking into the mainstream and it’s brilliant.