After forming back in 2010, Scottish rockers Vukovi were quick to make an impression and turning heads with a trilogy of solid EPs, each more refined than the last.
Following those, it would go somewhat quiet in the camp in terms of output. Then starting in 2014, the quartet would release a line of singles, consecutively making more of an impact and garnering attention; most notably from the national music press.
As the public and media began to open their eyes to Vukovi and see them for the adept group that they are, the band announced a self-titled debut album and a wave of incitement flowed through the scene.
After months of anticipation, the record was unleashed to universal acclaim and it shot up to #2 in the rock charts, and for good reason. Half a decade in the making, we consider it a masterpiece that firmly cemented Vukovi’s tremendous talents.
Now that the album was out, it was time to celebrate some more with a sold out show at the prestigious King Tuts, which also happened to be the combo’s first gig in quite a while. As we arrived, we were greeted to what was among the longest ever queues we have been a part of for a local concert; as if you needed any more plain proof of the following they had attained as of late.
At last, we made it up and perched ourselves at the barrier for the first band of the night – Donnie Willow. While Vukovi were the ones with the most pressure going in, these guys had a tough duty of their own to simultaneously warm up and impress hundreds of people, with a majority most likely being unfamiliar with them.
With that said, we think they nailed it. The trio rattled through a variety of newer material with banging rhythms and quality sounds, whilst delighting us with notable tunes from their library such as Safe Blind, Early Morning and, last but not least, Exhale, where they built to a thrilling crescendo.
Arthur delivered some prime riffs, returning bassist Sam dished out some pounding chords and Peter was happy as Larry smashing away fashionably at the kit. They had a grip on the crowd throughout and received a sincere reception, so job well done.
Up next were Critics, hailing from London, who we only became acquainted with in the week of the show and were eager to see.
I Have A Gun made for a fine start. There was decent guitar work on show in Going With You and All My Friends. Tackily-dressed frontman Lynn absolutely nailed the harmonies of Blues & Greys, and the two closing numbers Famous and All I Wanna Know had some really catchy choruses that had audience members visibly bobbing their heads.
Admittedly, there was a spark missing as they began on the flat side, but they gradually improved and ended on a stronger note. A perfectly adequate performance, and we hope the lads enjoyed their deep-fried Mars Bars.
The stage was cleared, gear was shifted, and in that half an hour of waiting, the buzz grew and grew. The attendees were all set to go for the moment they and us had been waiting for – Vukovi. Finally, the lights lowered and a round of applause echoed.
In the midst of blinding lights and smoke, they exploded with La Di Da, before settling into the groove with Weirdo, where Janine – dressed in a stylish outfit and packing some sick dreads – displayed sheer charisma and was utterly engrossed in the whole revue. And He Lost His Mind was charged by a rampant rhythm courtesy of Jason and Colin.
Everyone clapped leading into the appropriately titled Bouncy Castle, where the centre of the room became a cluster of folk jumping around wildly. Meanwhile, Janine pulled off one of her trademarks and stole someone’s recording phone and took it for a ride; an event that happened multiple times more.
Insanity unfolded in old favourite So Long Gone, as Harris Douglas made an unannounced appearance and pulled off what at this point must be a contractually obligated surf. “HWFG” chants made way for Prey, which featured terrific vocals and initiated a mosh pit.
Hamish provided an excellent continuous riff in Wander, accompanied by a firm drum beat. The song commenced at a smooth pace, steadily growing over time. He Wants Me Not would then excite with a zealous melody.
With Colour Me In, phone lights illuminated the place at the command of Janine; a really majestic sight from the front, and the ante was upped once more with I’m Wired.
Target Practice seemingly capped off the set immensely, highlighted by a young shirtless chap floating around on shoulders and finishing with Janine spraying champagne all over us before taking a cheeky swig for herself. As the band left the stage to a fervent ovation, it was really obvious an encore was coming, and luckily all our wishes were granted.
Chaos ensued once more with the heart-stopping Animal where the crowd passionately hit the cheerleading section on cue, before they culminated for good with the intoxicating Boy George in which carnage unraveled one last time.
We may have babbled on several paragraphs, but in all honesty, words cannot properly fathom what a magical experience it was. You simply had to be there, and sincere condolences to those unable to grab the ticket and miss out.
Every element just felt perfect, with all in attendance being blown away and left hanging on cloud nine. Without a shadow of a doubt, Vukovi surpassed all the hype that had preceded them, and after fighting tooth and nail to make it to the position they are in now and remarkably succeed in that way on the legendary stage of Tuts, we could not be any prouder.
Our muscles ached and our voices were at breaking point, but it was all very much worth it. It felt like we were truly witnessing history; a night where Vukovi affirmed themselves as the next leaders of Scottish rock music.
10th March 2017 – a day we will never forget.