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The Vamps - O2 Academy, Birmingham 01.07.2017

I’ve never liked boy bands.

So when I found myself standing in line waiting to pick up my pass at The Vamps’s Birmingham show, I did stop and ask myself what exactly I was doing there. I felt worlds apart from the endless queue of tween girls clad head to toe in band merch, clutching signs that proclaimed their undying love for the talented quartet that were about to perform. However, I had heard many a good word from friends about their latest material, and was willing to place my boy band stereotypes aside and give them a chance.

First up were Taken, an energetic trio of lads that looked like they’d just stepped out of a Topman catalogue. Indeed, they got the room moving with their energetic covers of 'Don’t You Worry Child' and 'Shape Of You' - but that was it. If I’ve been queuing outside for 3 hours, I want to see more than three boys singing over a backing track. Don’t get me wrong – their original tracks were superb, however I would have liked to have heard more of them. However this truly is me being picky, as they worked well with the crowd and built up great momentum for The Vamps.

I’ve seen some interesting stage setups since I started reviewing for 3 Songs & Out, however this one is my favourite so far. Rugs, filament bulbs and what looked like around 500 battery powered tealights adorned the stage, similar to a live lounge performance. The entire show was subdued, laid back and relaxed – miles away from their latest arena show. Each track from their newest album was explained fully, from the initial inspiration right through to the production. This gave a much deeper and more personal show, and their set list was peppered with some brilliant covers including Niall Horan’s 'Slow Hands' and a catchy mashup that included their songs 'Wild Heart' and 'Golden' interspersed with 'Chocolate' by The 1975 and 'Sorry' by Justin Bieber. The band swapped instruments effortlessly, easily jumping from acoustic guitar to piano and back in between songs.

I left feeling content – I would most definitely catch these guys again.

Photo & Review - Sutcliffe Photography

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