Written by Tyler East.
I was first introduced to Bob Vylan when they featured on Kid Kapichi’s track, ‘New England’, a song that I fell in love with from my first listen. The song in question featured a verse from Bob Vylan (often referred to as Bobby and Bobbie, a duo of Bob’s) that absolutely rocked live. So, I explored them further and came across their debut album, Dread. Roaring with aggression about the state of British politics and the ignorance of some parts of British society, the power of Bobby’s voice mixed with Bobbie’s electric drumming ability is not to be understated. A particular highlight of this album, for me, is the lyricism in the album’s final track, ‘We Don’t Care (It Ain’t Safe)’. Dread was followed by albums such as We Live Here and Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life which build upon their first release with even more killer tracks that step up the game completely.
This brings us to the present: Bob Vylan released the single, ‘He’s a Man’ (not to forget the single, ‘Dream Big’, released earlier this year). Then, they embarked on the ‘Viva La Vylan’ Tour – a tour that has rocked venues across the UK. This was when I went to see him live for the first time.
The first support act, Kid Bookie, killed their set with their huge stage presence. They performed some of their own written material as well as some covers, notably, their own take on ‘Creep’ by Radiohead. Panic Shack stole the show, a band I had never heard before entering the venue but had added to my ‘On Repeat’ playlist before I had even left the venue. A majority girl group – with the exception of the drummer – they channeled their inner Riot Grrrl and commanded the crowd to an amazing performance.
All of this built up to Bob Vylan’s headline. They started their performance with a little warm up session of yoga, initiating the crowd into a frenzy. At this point, I was at the barrier. Although, you’ll later find out that I went into the frenzy which was the mosh pit. Then, he blasted into ‘I Heard You Want Your Country Back’ and the show officially began. A few more songs were performed and there was no sign of slowing down! When it was time for ‘He’s a Man’, it was at this point when Bobby asked the crowd to let women and non-binary people come forward, as this was a song for them. I stepped back, along with most other guys. And off we went into the frenzy – the song and the moshing had started. Littered with passionate speeches about the state of affairs, not just in Britain but the world, too, Bob Vylan finished the set with ‘Wicked and Bad’, arguably, their most famous track. They joined the crowd and surfed over us all while small pyrotechnics went off around the stage.
Without a doubt, it was one of the most insane gigs ever, rivaling behemoths of the industry, and an absolute show all round. The ‘Viva La Vylan’ Tour has finished with a bang and I’m so excited for Bob Vylan’s next album.
Written by Tyler East, edited and published by Lottie Macro, photography by Lottie Macro.