“Their interaction with audience members is on a different level.”
Kicking off the year with an energy-filled night, three incredible bands showcased their vast talents. In the recognisable Sneaky Pete’s venue in the Scottish capital, Fat Dads brought Falkirk groups The Balugas and The Vaunts along with them to play an unforgettable show.
Filled with their popular fan singles and easily identifiable covers, each band treated the crowd to catchy choruses and memorable melodies. With such talent among the bands, it was definitely a Saturday night to remember.
Support 1: The Balugas
Glasgow and Falkirk four-piece, The Balugas, were first to amaze the Sneaky Pete’s crowd that night. Making their long-awaited return the vibrant venue, The Balugas performed tunes which combine genres and create a variety of sounds that everyone will enjoy. This includes a range of released and unreleased tunes, from their first single ‘Something Serious‘ to latest track ‘1%‘.
The latter track, ‘1%‘, was one of the first tunes they played, helping to showcase the bands ever-growing musical talents. This rock, punk and indie fusion was successful and resulted in cheers from all around the intimate club. Carrying on their pop, punk and indie-rock amalgamation, The Balugas took the crowd back in time a little bit to November 2022 which saw the release of debut single, ‘Something Serious‘. The debut track is currently the group’s most streamed song and there’s no question as to why this is. Aiden Lyon’s vivacious vocals filled the room as the band brought to life their songwriting abilities. This followed in the other songs on their setlist and included electrifying guitar solos from Kate Rankin too.
Each band that night had a cover or two to play, The Balugas were no exception. Combining Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star‘ and a Mac Demarco tune, the group made both tracks their own with unique twists here and there. The Balugas are such an intriguing band to watch live, they all look like they’re having fun on stage and it will be exciting to see where they take their diverse sound next.
Support 2: The Vaunts
Next, as the second support act, were The Vaunts. Just like the previous support band, this was also a return to Sneaky Pete’s for the fellow Falkirk four-piece. While they share some of the same venues, and the location they’re based, they don’t share the same sound, which is exactly what I, personally, like to see on a gig lineup. While it makes sense to have bands of similar sound performing together, it would be pretty boring to have three or four bands that are the same.
The Vaunts brought their lively and atmospheric indie anthems to life and demonstrated exactly why their tunes are becoming so popular. With a guitar driven melody, tracks like ‘Hold Me Down‘ in particular were captivating to watch in this intimate live setting. Their infectious sound is fun to listen to and watching this come to life was amazing.
Following on with a cover of their own, The Vaunts’ frontman asked if anyone like Madonna and replied “too bad” when people said they were. This audience interaction then lead into a surprising cover choice. When the band announced they were going to play a Harry Styles song, my initial thought was ‘oh no, not another cover of As It Was or Adore You’ but instead, I was pleasantly surprised. They played a very impressive cover of Harry Styles’ unreleased song ‘Medicine‘, a song I’ve never heard covered live. I’m not always a fan of covers as I think some songs should be left alone, but The Vaunts really made this song their own and it’s a version I’d definitely listen to again!
Like with The Balugas, The Vaunts are a band I’d be excited to see again. They are quickly gaining a positive reputation as a live band and now that I’ve finally seen them at a gig, I really understand why. If you ever see The Vaunts on a gig lineup, you’d regret not heading to see them, their sound is infectious and they are definitely a band to watch.
Headliners: Fat Dads
Carlise group Fat Dads were last to take to the stage, headlining the intimate venue. This Edinburgh date is the second show in a run of 7, with a Glasgow date also taking place on January 27th. Having supported artists like Andrew Cushin in their hometown and playing festivals like Kendal Calling last year, I was excited to see Fat Dads headline in the Scottish capital, and I was not disappointed.
Due to illness, the usual five-piece band became a quartet but this didn’t seem to halt the energy and atmosphere Fat Dads generated. The crowd were loud, just like Scottish crowds usually are, and Fat Dads took advantage of this energy. With quite a few dedicated fans in the audience, the group interacted with familiar faces, and pointed out those who knew their lyrics or had seen them live before. Clad in Stone Island, a couple of fans yelled the words and danced, or at least attempted to, in time with Fat Dads’ catchy and memorable tunes.
Kicking things off with latest single ‘Jenny‘, the band generated a positive atmosphere with striking stage presence, even on a stage as intimate as this one. I didn’t have a particular song that I was most excited to hear from Fat Dads, but this is because their discography is already so distinctive and diverse, that I was just intrigued to hear how they brought it all to life. Songs like 2023 single ‘Girlfriend‘ and demo ‘Taking Our Sweet Time‘ were amazing to hear live, I think the latter tune would be amazing to hear at a summer festival or outdoor show.
Their interactions with the audience continued throughout the entire duration of their set. Before one track, they conducted a poll of what the best Christmas film was between “Home Alone” and “Die Hard“. When “Die Hard” won, their guitarist joked that he wouldn’t come back to Edinburgh, before jumping straight into their next song, the aptly named ‘Filthy Animals‘. Ending on a cover, Fat Dads’ encore was their own version of Blur’s ‘Parklife‘. The catchy anthem was a hit, with everyone singing along with the chorus.
Fat Dads are absolutely incredible live. Their atmospheric anthems demand attention, with each of their personalities shining through wherever possible. Their interaction with audience members, whether they’ve been fans for a while or not, is on a different level and something that was really fun to observe. I’m so glad that this was my first gig of 2024 and I look forward to hopefully seeing this group again sometime soon. If you ever get the chance to see Fat Dads at a show near you, it is a guarantee that you will leave having laughed at something or at least given the chance to sing along with a song you know.