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VUKOVI - Hyde Book Club, Leeds 27.01.2020

Three years after releasing their self-titled debut, Scottish rockers VUKOVI return with a tour to celebrate the release of their sophomore effort, 'Fall Better', taking the stage at Hyde Park Book Club in Leeds.

Support came in the form of Bristol dual-fronted three-piece outfit Sœur. In all honesty, I had my doubts when they took the stage, as bands that use two guitars and no bass with no obvious samples often have a thin sound to them, but I was instantly proved wrong when they began playing. Their heavy, Grunge-drenched Pop style was absolutely breathtaking, with sludgy riffs and a myriad of influences that almost sounded like a cross between Punk and Psychedelic music, which is also echoed within their hypnotic vocals and harmonies, which particularly shone through in the song ‘Do What I Want’. Each song brought something new to the table, from the call-and-response guitar style of the intro to the song ‘Don’t’ to the dynamic diversity of closing track ‘Fight’, it’s obvious to see why Sœur have been taking the South West UK music scene by storm. Definitely a band to keep your eye on in the future, I certainly will be.

Then came time for VUKOVI. Having seen them once prior on the 2017 Kerrang! Tour, I had an idea of what to expect, but, like when Sœur took to the stage, my expectations were once again blown out of the water. In the three years since I last saw them, they’ve had time to hone and perfect their stagecraft, recreating the atmosphere of their songs in a live setting in spectacular fashion. With Hyde Park Book Club being a fairly intimate venue, there was a load of crowd interaction, which just showed the dedication that VUKOVI have to their fans. At the end of every song the band showed their appreciation for the people who have allowed them to get to where they are now, as well as praising the energy within the crowd. The set was paced brilliantly, with perfectly timed rises and falls, from melodic ballad ‘Colour Me In’, which frontwoman Janine Shilstone performed in the audience, to hard hitting final songs ‘Run/Hide’ and ‘La Di Da’, the audience loved every second. Despite 'Fall Better' only being released three days prior to the concert, every single word of each song, new and old, was belted back at the band in uproarious fashion. It’s hard to pick a song that stands out the most for me from the night, as they were all performed brilliantly, each “dirty fucking riff” - as introduced in intro song ‘17359’, hit the crowd like a tonne of bricks, and everybody in the room loved it. There’s a reason that so many people have branded VUKOVI as one of the most exciting upcoming live bands, and the set I witnessed was certainly no exception to this.

I’m interested and excited to see where VUKOVI go from here, and I’d certainly be remiss if I didn’t recommend you go see them as soon as possible. They’ve already been confirmed for Sunstroke Festival in Ireland and 2000 Trees in Cheltenham in the summer, as well as Burn It Down Festival in Torquay in September, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them crop up on more festival lineups across the UK in the coming months.

Review - Gordon Rae

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