Australia Day shows are always an excuse to relax, get a bit too drunk and a tad sunburnt but sadly this wasn’t the go with The Vamps Brisbane show at The Riverstage. With a no alcohol ban, a strong under 16 crowd and hovering rain clouds the show wasn’t ideal to begin with. “Masketta Fall were the first to take the stage and with a set list of average pop punk songs I was a tad bored. Their cover of The Killers “Mr Brightside” was an interesting take on the song but I would have liked to have heard them electrify the sound and give more of an edge to the performance.
Fresh from working on their comeback album, second support act Short Stack brought back all the old school vibes with their energetic pop punk tracks that dominated the charts in circa 2009-2011. “Sway Sway Baby”, Shimmy A Go Go”, “Princess”, “We Dance To A Different Disco”, “Sweet December” and “Planets” were strongly received while their only new song “Television” had a lukewarm reaction. Their crowd interaction was on point and interesting to watch. They have grown as live band and continue to exceed expectations.
Taking the stage to deafening screams The Vamps launched into a short 70 minute set with crowd favourite “Wild Heart”. Brad Simpson is the ideal frontman, bringing a unique energetic presence that rivals some of the industry’s biggest names. Seemingly confident and cheekily playful he had the crowd eating out of his palm while he climbed speakers and ran amuck on the stage. Each member had their time to shine and drummer Tristan Evans stole the show for me with a five minute solo that explored elements from popular Skrillex and Rihanna tracks. Bassist Connor Ball took over lead vocals for their cover of All Time Low’s “Dear Maria Count Me In” which featured an excerpt from Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar We’re Going Down”. He gave a strong delivery and a refreshing sound that I would like to hear more from the band. The only member who disappointed with his lack of enthusiasm and dismal interaction was lead guitarist James Mcvey. With a pre tour wrist injury he has been unable to play and has been downgraded to “MC Mcvey” participating in backing vocals and “hyping the crowd up”. Throughout the whole show he seemed very disconnected and uninterested which ruined the vibe the other boys were putting so much effort into creating. I understand that with the injury he’s been unable to play guitar but if you’re on that stage even if it’s to “MC” and “Sing” then you need to bring you’re “A game” and he was nowhere near that level. .
With an unprecedented amount of slow songs their setlist was fairly average and needed more upbeat tracks like fan favourites “Dangerous”, “Lovestruck” and “Golden” from their album to lift the mood. “Move My Way”, “High Hopes/ On The Floor”, “Somebody To You” and “Can We Dance” brought some of the main highlights while their Youtube Cover Medley impressed with a smooth flow.
Delivering a fun and positive show, The Vamps entertained the mainly under eighteen crowd. There is a lot of room for improvement but with a solid year of touring ahead of them I’m sure their show will grow stronger and continue to evolve.