ONR - Photo Credit Melissa Gunn
ONR - Photo Credit: Melissa Gunn

Review: ONR & VanIves at The Venue 25/1/19

ONR at The Venue Dumfries Photo Credit: Melissa Gunn

ONR – Photo Credit: Melissa Gunn

On the 25th of January, Dumfries became a hive for music lovers.

From all corners of the town, different acts emitted a plethora of sounds, which resonated through the streets as some came to celebrate Burns, and others to sate their thirst for live music of the highest calibre.

Despite the numerous great acts that graced our wee town, Small Town Sounds undisputedly headed to The Venue. Preceding his shows supporting Bastille alongside Lewis Capaldi across Europe, ONR brought the noise home

VanIves at The Venue Dumfries Photo Credit: Melissa Gunn

VanIves – Photo Credit: Melissa Gunn

Supporting ONR at his hometown show was VanIves, who appeared for the first time as a four piece. The Castle Douglas based group  were fabulous as always, bringing together different genres to create their truly original sound. VanIves are set to release their debut EP, ‘Let The Current Find Us’, on Thursday 31st January alongside a much anticipated show at the CCA Glasgow for Celtic Connections. We are thrilled to be covering this launch show in more depth very shortly, so keep an eye out for our full review.

It would be fair to say that ONR has always been held in the highest regard by both fellow musicians and music enthusiasts from Dumfries. Following the explosive performance on Friday night, we are reminded why.

ONR at The Venue Photo Credit: Melissa Gunn

ONR – Photo Credit: Melissa Gunn

Unlike a lot of the collaborations and groups that are born out of Dumfries, ONR has broken the mould by redefining borders between being part of a rock band and producing anthemic pop songs that hook the listener from the outset. He executes this very well indeed, with the songs at times being reminiscent of works by The Killers and Interpol at the same time. Another of the assets that ONR holds is the air of professionalism that surrounds both himself and his band.

“Showmanship and presence…”

As we’ve said on this very website before, each member is immensely talented in their own right. This undeniably comes across in a live setting as they feed off one another, dropping each massive chorus after chorus. In conjunction with the entrancing showmanship and presence that Robert Shields radiates on-stage, the group are somewhat unparalleled.

Mark Irving (ONR) Photo Credit: Melissa Gunn

Mark Irving (ONR) – Photo Credit: Melissa Gunn

ONR’s songs and melodies are so finely crafted; they retain in the memory of the audience and allow for participation. Personally, we feel that the lyrical content encourages self-reflection and at times can be touching, particularly in their lower key songs such as ‘Jericho’.

However, when played against monster tunes like ‘American Gods’, we see the extremes of variety ONR and his band offer us, even throughout a short set on a Friday night in Dumfries. We were also treated to the as-yet-unreleased song, ‘A Girl Like You’, which embodied the very essence of the group through its hard-hitting delicacy and left us eager to hear the track recorded.

This collective – fronted by Robert Shields as ONR – is an anthemic powerhouse who gives us music junkies our fix of punching bass-lines, delicate lyrics and harmonies that leave you awe-struck in one go. Magical.

Words by Liam Russell. Photos by Melissa Gunn.

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