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Review: Vitamin at The Brudenell Social Club

17 December 2015
Review: Vitamin at The Brudenell Social Club
Ask any Leeds gig-goer to recommend an upcoming artist from the area and they’ll say Vitamin. In the first year since making the decision to drop out of college, they’ve released two EPs and signed a deal with National Anthem Records, the home of Indie-Pop giants Chvrches and Haim. Tonight’s show, the last of their Brothers and Sisters residency at The Brudenell has just been bumped up to the main room. All in all, it’s no wonder there’s a bit of a buzz about them.

Formed from the remnants of previous projects incuding Glassbody, and with tours supporting Swim Deep and Rat Boy across the UK, the Leeds born four-piece already have a surprising level of gigging experience under the belt. That said, at barely 20 years-old their three Brothers and Sisters shows here have seen Vitamin play their first ever headline slots. But any nervousness you think this might have caused tonight seems well and truly under control. ‘What’s this gap?!’ shouts front-man Jared as they take to the stage, commanding the excited crowd of drunk students to push even further forward. “Yeah! Exactly! Now you can stroke my leg!”

Review Vitamin at The Brudenell Social Club - Article

As they play through the first couple of tracks, including ‘Lights Go Out’ and ‘Giving It Up’ something becomes apparent in Vitamin’s style of music that you’d be forgiven for missing from EPs ‘To Believe’ and ‘Giving It Up’. Not that these are bad records – they’re bright, jangly production pays homage to the lo-fi Indie-Pop production of the 80’s that has undoubtedly influenced Vitamin. But whether it’s stemmed from their energetic live performance or from them honing their talents, here, under the sheeny synthesisers and reverb soaked strats is a much punchier kind of body to their sound.

The infectious vocal hooks hold more room as Jared’s falsettos come across with a more forcefully confident delivery. There’s more aggression in their grooves too – the bass lines are plucked harder and the beats sound more hard-hitting. Their new material seems to demonstrate this is probably an intentional stylistic progression they’ve taken, as ‘Brothers and Sisters’ with it’s raucous, discordant intro is one of the stand-out moments of the set.

It’s obvious that there’s an abundance of stage presence in Vitamin too. Each one of them is dressed boldly, like they’ve all blindly raided Blue Rinse. They’re not scared of the loud, excited crowd either – at one point inviting everyone in the room back to their shared Hyde Park digs for an after party, an offer they were apparently taken up on. And they make sure to use every inch of The Brudenell’s recently enlarged stage: bassist Harrison bounces around during the set so much that at one point he falls over, to his own amusement as much as anyones; throughout the night Jared dances with as much care-freeness that most front-men only attain while practicing in their bedroom mirror - seemingly half tempted by the idea of moon-walking during the MJ inspired ‘Waterfall’ before thinking better of it. He’s clearly also acknowledged where to draw the line.

When the night comes to a close after their one track encore – a song they’d only just finished writing – a couple of people around me quietly exclaim to each other “Is that it?”. Admittedly length wise the eight or nine song set was somewhat short for a headline show, but I doubt for £3 anyone here feels short changed on entertainment, and you get the feeling tonight, and the rest of their residencies here are part of what’s probably going to be a much bigger story.

Dan is a volunteer music writer for Leeds Living, reviewing gigs and festivals around the city. He also plays guitar in Leeds band Dancing Years
Photography provided by Alec Aarons