– SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER –

When Kurt Cobain first drawled on MTV Unplugged that he was going to play Jesus Don’t Want me for a Sunbeam ‘The Vaseline’s way’ I was intrigued to know more. Judging by their name alone I am fan and if an icon such as Kurt Cobain favours them then they must be good right?

Signed to Sub Pop the same label as Nirvana, this Glaswegian band were first together  in the 80’s but have reformed with a new album ‘Sex with an X’. This is their first album of new material since their album, Dum Dum released in 1990.

Although they essentially made most of their music in the 80’s they have a distinctly 90’s indie pop sound so you could say they were ahead of their time, influencing the grunge and indie bands that were to follow, most notably Nirvana, who did covers of Molly’s Lips and Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam. Kurt Cobain even said the Eugene Kelly from the band was his favourite lyricist. So it’s clear to see they were a big influence on early Nirvana both lyrically and stylistically with their lazy, slung-back lyrics and simple chords.

There is no doubting that The Vaselines two and a half chord garage pop would have been a welcome antidote to 80’s overproduced pop but there is still the more pressing matter of what their music is like today and how it has updated itself for the newly assembled crowd of 2010. The answer is, I would say, not that much.  

There is no doubting the enthusiasm of the fans who, have come out to watch The Vaseline’s but the overriding feeling is that this is a trip down memory lane; a chance to nod your head, tap your toes and sing along to the lyrics that remind you of being a teenager, there is even a little three person mosh- pit for one of their more up tempo songs,  but for the main part the crowd is static happy to bask in nostalgia with a far away look in their eyes rather than get truly excited. The static feeling of the gig was galvanised by their two and a half chord pop which at times, felt monotone, and unchallenging considering the potential availability of other chords.

Their look as well is pretty stuck in the past, the bassist Kelly’s brother looked like the lead singer from the Dandy Warhol’s and Eugene Kelly had the black and red stripy jumper famously worn by Cobain in the Teen Spirit video.

In their day, I am sure The Vaselines offered something new and refreshing and the influence they had on Nirvana is impressive but an important pre- cursor for any re- formed band is how to move on from that and re- invent yourself.  From the performance at Sound Control I see little that can propel The Vaselines in to the future without riding on former glories. Never the less if Kurt Cobain likes them, who am I to argue?

At the end of the gig before the predictable encore we make our escape in to the night and go next door to a gig at the Dancehouse where my sister is watching Louis Barabas and The Bedlam Six. Never heard of them? Me neither. But we get let in for free and catch the last twenty minutes and experience more excitement then we had at Sound Control. So, I am endorsing them more than The Vaseline’s but I doubt it will hold quite as much kudos…..

When people ask me what music I am in to, I find it very hard to give a definitive answer because, throughout my life I have been in to all kinds of different music from House to Heavy Metal depending on how old I was, what I was doing at the time and the kind of people I was hanging out with. So I can safely say I am open to most things as long as it’s good but obviously that is entirely subjective and open to interpretation, which I guess is what Silent Radio is all about. However, I would say that overall my alliances lie with Electronic Music because it covers so many genres and is constantly developing and changing. Having just returned from Sonar I felt a warm glow being surrounded by so many people who appreciate Electronic Music but there were times when I became a little jaded and questioned its integrity especially after seeing Katy B perform for the 3RD TIME! Will Katy B still be remembered in six years? I doubt it. But I guess that is the nature of Pop Music in particular; some stand the test of time, some don't. I think having grown up and lived in Manchester my musical tastes have been influenced by the club scene post- hacienda and the music at nights like Electric Chair which encompasses the sounds of House, Detroit Techno, Disco, Soul, Funk and Hip Hop. Basically anything with a groove, I like. But this is not confined to Dance Music I particularly like bands that are melodic and have a hook such as Wild Beasts, music that captures an emotion and has a heart. While at University I was also listening to music that didn’t really have much of a heart but more of a pacemaker in terms of the emotion it conveyed and that was Electro-Clash, a completely non- sensical and at times ridiculous genre that borrowed elements from House, Italio Disco and Techno and re- formed them in to one fun, but ridiculous package. While at University, I had my own radio Show where I tried to convey some of my musical tastes acquired from up north and had guest DJ's from a night in New Cross called Zombie Disco, with Jamie from Zombie Disco now working with Lindstrom. We also borrowed the services of Rina from Ladytron who had a guest DJ slot. Anyhow, I think it is safe to say I like a wide range of music apart from Katy B, sorry Katy.