Vines : Brighton Freebutt

Vines : Brighton Freebutt

Without question, The Vines are going to be this year's Strokes...

OK, so let’s cut straight to the chase. This is one of the most sensational

debut gigs that your correspondant has ever seen. Tonight’s show – part of

an NME 5.0 tour with The Libertines – is the first time [a]Vines[/a] have ever

played in the UK and it’s as good, if not better, than when we saw The Strokes play at the Camden Monarch 12 months ago.

From Sydney, via six insane months in LA, [a]Vines[/a] have so far released one

7″ single in this country that sounded like a punk-reggae take onThe Beatles. Now signed to Heavenly, they’re on the verge of releasing a debut

single proper – ‘Highly Evolved’ – that lasts for just 94 seconds and comes

on like ‘Nevermind’-era Nirvana. It’s a promising start, but one that

doesn’t even begin to tell the story of this gig.

In frontman Craig Nicholls, [a]Vines[/a] have a bona fide superstar. Tonight,

rumours abound that his one rehearsal for this show consisted of him

smashing up a guitar and walking out of the room. At 10pm, he arrives on the

stage with the hair of [a][/a] and the strung-out vocal

mannerisms of an Antipodean Kurt Cobain. For the next 60 minutes, he stands

with his eyes rolled back in his head and his hands smothering his face.

Musically, what he has to offer is even more arresting. Roughly speaking his

songs are split evenly in two. There’s the sharp garage punk of ‘Outta Tha

Way’, ‘Highly Evolved’ and ‘Get Free’ and the spaced-out stoner epics of

‘Mary Jane’ and ‘1965’. The last of these is simply incredible, ending in a

rush of feedback with Nicholls playing his guitar above and behind his head.

The whole thing’s like a millennial update of ‘The White Album’ – and given

that they also find time to dig out a blistering version of OutKast ‘s ‘Ms.

Jackson’, you can see that they’re really onto something.

They end with a chaotic take on the B-side of their first single, ‘Ain’t No

Room’. Nicholls’ eyes roll forward in their sockets and then they’re gone.

Without question, [a]Vines[/a] are going to be this year’s Strokes. A few more

gigs like tonight, though, and they might even turn out to be a whole lot

more than that.

James Oldham