Vemodalen would be getting the night started, and we knew that these guys were capable when it comes to a live situation, having impressed us in the past, and it was a similar (if not even better) story here.
Clearly we were not the only fans of them, for they had a pretty sizable crowd on hand as they got rolling, which visibly had a positive influence on their playing and helped elevate it to another degree.
A doubly great vocalist and bassist, Ewan was poised and full of beans, and he alone brought a dose of life. The cool and collected Michael was a class guitarist, and David – donning the cutest wee vest – was a real force on the kit.
The chemistry between the three was blatantly obvious, and their mix of old and new tracks happened to be damn good too, with a blend of strength and addictive fervent energies to them simultaneously, and that rubbed off on the folk watching them, especially those two guys at the front going all in and nearly stomping the floor to a pulp.
So wow, Vemodalen were even better than we remembered. A blinding, possibly show-stealing set from a tight trio who deserved to be higher than the warm-up slot, truthfully speaking.
Let’s hope that this is the year that more people begin to realise what they are made of, pushing them beyond one of Glasgow’s best kept secrets. #FreeHatRecords2019
So a high standard was established, and now it was onto the newcomers for us as Human Renegade were up second and raring to go in no time flat.
While they couldn’t rekindle the fire that Vemodalen brought – a tough task, to be fair – they were pretty decent. They gave us nice vocals that certainly shined in a few spots throughout, the melodies were more or less solid and they were consistently unified, despite a few slips. Also to their credit, they secured quite a big crowd, and though most were dead still outside of light nodding, the majority gave the four their full attention.
Fine for what it was, but they were definitely lacking a spark to get us properly invested, and they never seemed to be fully into it, while not offering much to make them stick out from the rest of the acts that we have seen through the festival. Not bad by any means, but improvement is needed or they’ll be going nowhere fast.
On a side note, the poor girl next to us had her drink accidentally knocked out of her hand by the sound guy. Silly Billy. He did pay to get her another though, so at the very least a classy Silly Billy.
We noticed a lot of people talking about ZOLA on the run up to the night, usually in a positive light, so we were certainly curious.
Nicholas, unhappy at the empty void in front of them, asked for everybody to step forward, which they did, and encouraged a good time despite it being in the middle of the week and actively advocated for it all the way through, to which one dude responded with a giddy-up on his friend’s shoulders, so bonus interaction points achieved.
Speaking of Nicholas, he bore a cool voice, and together he and Kian were on top form riff-wise. Their tunes featured some resounding rhythms that had a pulse running behind them – delivered through blunt bass tones courtesy of Billy and cracking drum beats from the gloriously bearded Rhys – with the personal highlights for us being the infectious More and the hooking Fire, which was honestly stuck in our head for a while after.
Although probably not at their full potential here, it was nonetheless an engaging and entertaining showing that restored our buzz and gave us enough reason to check out these guys again, whenever that may be.
The Frontiers were the final headliners of the 2019 NYR that we were completely blind to, having not heard a single thing about them online or the like. They were sure as hell eager to get going, because they got off to the most premature of starts that left a look of bewilderment on the face of the engineer.
From there they were practically non-stop, firing fast from tune to tune with no time for pause. The numbers themselves were more often than not seriously catchy – Wake Up was particularly a belter – the choruses made a mark, and the writing was decent too.
The leading man Keir was an excellent vocalist, with a definite avid punch behind his singing, Ross’ guitar work was mighty fine and some superb solos were cranked out here and there, and the rhythm section of Dylan and James were in solid shape.
Since they left little room for breaks, the boys rode off a continuously driving momentum and sustained a fun energy that held our interest from beginning to end, with our attention never wavering.
It’s a shame a bulk of folk left before they finished, because we think they missed out. A great introduction to a great quartet. We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for their debut single…