Gig Review | The Vapors @ Beat Generator, Dundee | 10/02/23

Surrey based New Wave veterans The Vapors turn back the clock as they return to Dundee for the first time in over 40 years.

Support at Beat Generator came from local punk rockers David Delinquent and the I.O.U’s. 2022 single ‘Rocksteady Girl’, a cover of Stereophonics ‘The Bartender and the Thief’ and some unexpected saxophone were among the highlights of the impressive set. With a tone reminiscent of James Dean Bradfield, David leads his band through some good old fashioned punk rock. If you want to let off a little steam, a David Delinquent gig is the place for you. Hopefully we’ll see more from the band in 2023.

It was the 9th December 1979 the last time The Vapors played in Dundee. That was supporting The Jam at the Caird Hall, so here in 2023 at Beat Generator was their first ever headline show in the city. Only frontman David Fenton and bassist Steve Smith remain from the original line up of the late 70’s. They were joined by Fenton’s son Dan on lead guitar and Michael Bowes on drums. As the senior Fenton celebrates his 70th birthday at the beginning of March, it was down to his son to bring the energy to the performance and he certainly brought it. His non-stop bouncing and crowd interactions really stole the show.

It was a set mixed with new and old material. The 39-year gap between studio albums is among the longest in music history. Tracks like ‘Prisoners’, ‘Jimmie Jones’ and ‘Bunkers’ went down a storm with the older members of the crowd. The nostalgia of those first two albums understandably proving the more popular moments. The songs of 2020’s ‘Together’ were also well received, the 18 song setlist was very cleverly arranged. Of course the biggest moment of the night was the 1980 number 3 hit ‘Turning Japanese’, David Fenton’s voice still sounding excellent as he lead the crowd through their best known song. I must admit when it comes to The Vapors, Turning Japanese was the only song I knew of before this show. However, I left having witnessed a fantastic show and unquestionably a new fan.