My Vitriol

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Concert Review by Mark Bayross

The Astoria, London – Friday 19 July 2002

With Hollywood actors guesting in their videos, countless appearances on mainstream UK TV and their entire debut album remixed for the American market, it is clear that My Vitriol are fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. Som Wardner, despite still being ridiculously young, has the looks and talent of a rock star, even if he is yet to adopt the swagger of a true axe-wielding idol.

The support slot on this tour has alternated between Bristol-based rising stars Halo and on-the-brink-of-finally-making-it-big Irishmen Wilt. Tonight, Halo are first up, and, while the undoubtedly possess the proficiency – and the tunes – to progress, there’s something missing from the formula. They are more than capable of creating a gloriously edgy sound, but there’s nothing here that hasn’t been done before.

Wilt seem to have enough enthusiasm to fill an aircraft hangar, so Cormac Battle’s opening declaration that they are “here to entertain you for half an hour” is more than made good. The band explode onto the stage in a whirlwind of energy, dressed in dapper RESERVOIR DOGS white shirts and black ties (although new guitarist Derren Dempsey looks like a snotty schoolboy as he attacks his guitar). They play a set taken in equal measure from both albums, although the brilliant TAKE ME HOME is the inevitable high point of a short-but-sweet performance.

My Vitriol have obviously been shifting some units, as the lightshow that accompanies their performance is nothing short of spectacular. This is probably just as well, as the band aren’t particularly interested in playing the showmen and audience banter has never been Som’s strong point. No, this is all about breathtaking, glacial enormo-noise, as My Vitriol wrest stratospheric melody and heart-stopping dynamics from their guitars.

For the most part, their performance is magnificent to behold, especially when GROUNDED, CEMENTED SHOES and ALWAYS: YOUR WAY rush headlong out into the audience, but there are moments when the focus is lost in the sonic hugeness of it all, particularly around the middle of the set. Som’s vocals are occasionally swamped by the sound, and one punter summed up the experience as we filed out encore-less by saying it was “too loud”. Now there’s a complaint you won’t hear often.

Like Muse, My Vitriol’s ambition runs the risk of being mistaken for pretentiousness, but if a band wants to create such majestic music, who can blame them? The world domination campaign is still going to plan…