The Vanities make a glorious return to the capital.

Glasgow’s Vanities are a punk quartet known for their raucous live shows, vivacious sound and punk spirit. With countless sell-out gigs already under their belts, the foursome have just finished up their latest UK tour where they performed their tunes for fans up and down the country. On Friday I was fortunate enough to catch their Edinburgh date, keep reading to find out how it went!

On a warm July evening we made our way down to Sneaky Pete’s, a 100-capacity grassroots venue situated on the Cowgate. The intimate venue was packed out with fans of a wide age range ready to catch one of Glasgow’s most exciting punk outfits make their return to the capital.

At 9pm the quartet made their way onstage. They wasted no time and jumped straight in at breakneck speed with the ferocious ‘38’s’, a track with a lot of character which showcases some of the group’s best lyrics. The high-volume racing track quickly got the crowd going and frontman Alan Hannah’s charismatic stage presence kept everyone engaged throughout.

Next straight up punk track ‘OTC’ kept the endless untapped energy coming. It’s a subcultural anthem about drug use featuring screaming vocals, funky bass and quick riffs make for a fan favourite track as their new drummer Andrew Newton kept everyone in time creating a skilfully constructed soundscape. ‘Wasted All My Days’ tackles similar lyrical subject matter about being inebriated and sonically offers a driving bass riff and bluesy guitar that explodes into the chorus.  

New track ‘No Elvis’ followed, it’s poppier sounding than most of their tracks and is, as the title suggests, dedicated to The King. It sounded brilliant live and showcases some great lyricism with rhymes and pop culture references. The fiery ‘10 ‘til 10’ gave the audience no time to catch its breath as relentless riffs refused to let up the pace.

The contemplative ‘Oh Me Oh My’ calmed things down just a tad. It delivered a garage rock sound with gritty vocals and a fun la la la singalong towards the end. The rumbling bass of ‘Reality TV’ sped up the pace again and got everyone’s adrenaline pumping. It’s a punk rock song with rapid drums, thrashing guitars, some of the groups cleverest lyrics yet offering cutting lyrical commentary about car crash reality television shows.

Old favourite ‘Mary Jane’ was the first Vanities track I ever heard back when it was released in 2019 and is the reason I got into the band. I unfortunately missed the first half of the track when I was tapped on the shoulder by a bouncer informing me my friend had been kicked out, but we both made it back in to catch the end of the song and needless to say it packs a punch live. The catchy opening riffs of ‘Adult Essence’ came next with snarling lyrics that capture the pains and responsibilities of growing up. Sonically it delivers proper Buzzcocks vibes as the band’s influences shine through.

As the set drew to a close, spirits were high for ‘She’s Shambolic’. The whole band were on top form for the crowd-pleasing track which showcases their high-octane sound and a mosh pit invoking chorus. Ever the entertainer, Alan got on Connor ‘The’ Cannon’s shoulders for the duration of ‘Bleach’, proving rumours that Connor is in fact the hardest man on the planet as the band have claimed.

‘I’d Rather Die’ followed, this track’s lyrics pack plenty of punk spirit as they reject the mundanity of a desk job. Alan delivered transcendent vocals and the band ended on a high note with scuzzy riffs and a big finish. Next up was a pastiche punk cover of ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’, a bold choice that paid off! It was a lot of fun hearing Alan sing in French and the band’s sound was reminiscent of The Beach Boys.

For the encore we were treated to a breezy and hooky cover of the Ramones’ classic ‘Rockaway Beach’. It provided a dynamic and powerful end to an overall brilliant set. If you haven’t already heard The Vanities live this is your sign to do so!

Thanks to The Vanities for a loud, fast and crazy night of live music. Don’t forget to follow them on all the socials below to keep up to date with new releases.

About Emma Edwards 92 Articles
24-year-old Glasgow based music journalist. MA Multimedia Journalism and BA Film & Media graduate.