VanIves performing at The Stove (Photo credit: Ruari Barber-Fleming)

Review: VanIves at The Stove, Dumfries

On Thursday the 14thJune, VanIves invited friends, fans and family to The Stove Network in Dumfries to launch their debut single “Positive”.


I think I speak on behalf of everyone who attended by saying that the experience was just that.

Hailing from Castle Douglas but living, working and studying in Glasgow, Stuart Ramage and Roan Ballantine started VanIves in November 2017. Both members have previously been involved in many impressive musical endeavors. Stuart has performed to a high level with acts such as Bella and the Bear and Roan has been creating tracks under various aliases for a number of years.

Intricate melodies

Providing support was finger-style guitar prodigy, Flew The Arrow. He has been a prominent part of both Ayrshire and Glasgow’s folk scene over the last few years, having started up Glasgow-based folk session ‘Fleetin’ Bards’, and is one of the most talented guitarists around. He adopts a storytelling manner whilst sharing beautifully intricate melody lines and percussive elements. Besides all of this, his lyrics are what I find captivating. His ability to tie words to melody is one to be commended. He plans to release his debut EP, “Want for Nothing” at the end of the summer and I would strongly suggest that fans of acts such as The Tallest Man on Earth keep an ear to the ground and listen out for my personal favourite song, “Trail of Thought”.


Now for the headliners, VanIves – an amalgamation of visual art, music and poise.

Their performance at The Stove was a sensory bombshell, which left the audience in awe.


For many people attending it was their first encounter with the band, and I hope they would agree that VanIves project such professionalism while onstage which reflects what it means to be a working musician today. It is inspiring to see an act that is so well-versed and who have honed their craft so diligently. Personally, I find their music to be totally unique, which is a feat in itself. They seem to have already “found their sound”, blurring lines between electronic, indie and folk music. They incorporate many emotive lyrics and Stuart’s vocal is full of power and passion:

And all I want to hear is your voice / Say my name, say my name / And I want you to help me to forgive / And I want you to tell me something positive, something positive. – from debut single ‘Positive’.


The lyrical content sits harmoniously within the tunes themselves, creating polished pieces of art which resonated well with the overall vibe of The Stove as a venue.

In terms of future plans, Stuart told Small Town Sounds, “We plan to release more music this year after travelling across Scotland recording samples, while taking time to reflect and write in different areas with different people”.

VanIves are paving the way for a new era of Scottish music, and it is more than welcome.

To find out more about VanIves, check out their Facebook page. Watch them live below at their recent TEDxGlasgow performance.

Review written by Liam Russell. All photos by Ruari Barber-Fleming Media.


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