Review: VanIves at CCA, Glasgow 31/1/19
Having followed this remarkable duo from Castle Douglas through several of their previous projects, it’s safe to say that their hard work and perseverance within an industry subject to constant change has paid off.
Their EP launch gig at the Centre for Contemporary Arts was one of emotional intensity and intelligent execution – a powerful combination in a live setting. VanIves are achieving impressive streaming figures and gigging activity despite having only been a musical entity for just over a year. I feel that, as I have mentioned before, this is very much down to the boys’ talent and their ability to bounce off of each other’s skill sets both in a live and a writing scenario.
A Celtic Connection
The scene was set for the night with a short, spoken word piece as the band entered the space. The piece was written in Scottish Gaelic to remain in keeping with Celtic Connections, whom VanIves had partnered with to put together this launch gig for their debut EP, ‘Let the Current Find Us’.
The traditional undercurrent remained true to the rest of their set. VanIves have the unique ability to integrate genres, which makes for an enjoyable and engaging listen. Even in a live setting where the subs shake the walls, they retain their home-grown, singer-songwriter vibe.
Different group dynamics
This leads me on to remark upon the chemistry the group radiate whilst performing – it makes for an inclusive, wholesome experience for audience members and participants alike with Roan and Stuart living for every second of the time they have on stage. This was VanIves’ debut appearance as a fully-fledged four piece, which we hope will be a recurrence as they progress. However, the dynamics are slightly different to that of other bands who bring in “session” players. Appearing on fiddle was Ailsa Ramage – Stuart’s sister – and their good friend Kyle Sharp on all things percussive.
A sensational close to the set
As an encore, Stuart and Roan waded through the audience to perform an acoustic rendition of an unreleased song, ‘Lucia’. This involved Roan on acoustic piano with an ever humble Stuart singing unamplified to a captivated audience. The boys then went onto play their penultimate single, ‘Corder’ in seemingly the same way. We were all fooled. Just as the drop kicked in, the track was triggered onstage to everyone’s surprise and excitement. There were confetti canons, cheers and a joyous atmosphere as Stuart jumped on stage to round off a set of epic proportions.
This show is up there with my all time favourites – keep on doing what you’re doing guys.
Words by Liam Russell. Photos by Cam Hunter.