I was expecting a larger gathering of fans to turn up for this gig, but RVG have only recently released their debut, “A Quality of Mercy,” a trashy and attractive mini-masterpiece. However, there did remain a small but highly appreciative crowd of individuals as the Aussie-Indie four piece from Melbourne took to the concert stage to headline at the Brudenell, after support sets from Far Caspian, Hot Snack and Hilary and the Hate Crimes.
Far Caspian’s funky melancholy pop, followed by melodic post-punk influenced songs from Hot Snack and some slowed down, tortured psycho-billy from Hilary and the Hate Crimes had supplied a range of alternative music to the casual audience that came and went. Then the hangers-on gathered more closely for the final act…
Playing songs off their album solidly and beautifully, RVG didn’t need a wave of worshippers to strike out their visceral art rock to the attentive supporters clustered around the main room.
The band are a unique and eclectic mix of well-crafted material written by singer and guitarist Romy Vager. To give an example, third in, the title track, “A Quality of Mercy,” is a critical-confessional spurred on by Romy putting herself in the shoes of one of the Bali Nine, awaiting their execution. The song angrily and ironically challenges right wing stances, ending with the cry, “There is no evil in me, there was never any evil in me,” being strained in melodious screams possessively towards a prosecutor who points relentlessly at the possessed…
The following number, “IBM,” was a clever contrast and sounds somewhere between Vampire Weekend and The Cure, with Romy’s jangly reverb-guitar creating the mainframe for a song about love becoming computerised. This song was just as catchy played as a shadow to its predecessor, with the similar structure of a mantra at the end, this time stating, “You fell in love with a computer.”
Probably my favourite song from the album was “Feral Beach,” revolving around the concept of a beach of strangers and this being a simpler space in our lives, one which we came from and return to, chasing a freedom that is never perfect… The song brilliantly chips away at the numbness of escapism.
The band finished with “Eggshell World,” which Romy playfully introduced as being pure 80s goth rock. The chorus definitely proves why this songwriter has diversity and longevity. The song is an effortless, serious, pastiche of an anthem questioning modern alienation and communication.
Their encore didn’t disappoint either, as energy levels of the band were kept right up to the very end.
RVG put on a punchy, passionate, refined performance to the small herd of zealous zombies captivated by their raw, honest content…
Appetites for this band have definitely been whetted.
Their remaining gigs this tour are all in France, but there’s a building fan base waiting to welcome them on their next visit to Leeds.
Cover photograph by Nigel Allison
Ed writes creatively for a variety of platforms and has joined Leeds Living to review gigs in the City.