LIVE REVIEW: Vukovi @ The Star & Garter, Manchester (31/01/2019)

Credit: Cameron Brisbane

Date: January 31st 2019
Venue: The Star & Garter, Manchester
Support: Oxbloods


For the majority of 2018, just a year following the release of their self-titled album, Scottish rockers Vukovi kept pretty quiet save for a festival appearance here and there. 2019, however, is a year they intend to clench tightly with both hands and take for themselves.

They’re starting off their mission to conquer nice and early with an intimate 3-date headline UK run to warm them up before the cycle for album number two truly takes off.

Glaswegians Crystal were originally set to support, but due to transport issues putting a stop to that, local boys Oxbloods [6] have stepped up to fill the spot last minute. Little peppers of delicate synth and keys are embedded in songs like ‘Minefield’ and ‘Stockholm’, and this combined with their slightly rough around the edges brand of alt rock gets the room involved and bouncing along quite quickly.

It’s clear the band don’t take themselves too seriously. Not long into the set, bassist Matty Ashton‘s guitar strap snaps off rendering him to sit on the stage step for the rest of the evening, this comes after frontman Charlie Cothliff downs some gin offered by someone in the front row, and guitarists Matt Lunn and Chris Horrocks join the crowd at different points during the set. Admittedly there’s a bit of work to be done on the songwriting in parts, but there’s definite potential here.

It doesn’t take too long for Vukovi [8] to take to the stage themselves. Vocalist Janine Shilstone is welcomed to a handful of fans shouting “yes queen” as they jump right into set opener ‘And He Lost His Mind’, and from here on out the room quite quickly and continuously start showing that they may have done just that themselves too.

Despite the bitter and shuddering cold, things heat up pretty quickly in The Star & Garter attic. Fans climb onstage and crowd surf right back off of it during set staples like ‘Animal’ and ‘La Di Da’, sneak peeks into album number two in ‘Claudia’ and ‘Violent Minds’ receive hot receptions despite only being debuted publicly in London two nights ago, and it’s almost impossible to not bounce along to ‘Weirdo’.

Things get a little more intimate when the lights are cut for ‘Colour Me In’. Instead, the room illuminates with the lights from their fans’ mobile phones, all lifted in the air and swaying side-to-side. Before you know it, we’ve arrived at set closer and one of the band’s oldest songs to date, ‘Boy George’, and as guitarist Hamish Reilly rings out the final chords, Shilstone makes her way through the crowd, ready to meet their adoring fanbase in person at the merch desk.

With a busy year ahead of them, there are few better ways to loosen up the bolts and get back into the swing of things, and to also test some new material. From the sound of things, album number two could catapult Vukovi up another few levels with ease, and you’d better believe that their gang of weirdos will follow and grow with them too.