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The Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh
Saturday 21st June 2014

Johnny Main

johnny main

vantage point

There are milestones in every band's career whether it's playing your first gig or celebrating the release of your first album. For Edinburgh based Vantage Point the milestone they chose to celebrate with this special gig was that of a decade since the band were formed and to tie in with that, they also squeezed in a party to celebrate the release of their brand new album, 'Demonic Dinner Dance'.

With two celebrations rolled into one, this was always going to be an epic night for the band and with a pre-prepared set list of twenty three songs, they were ready to make the most of it.

As the music on the PA dies down, the band took to the stage to warm applause, but there was no time for them to bask in the glory of the adulation as they got down to the business at hand with a live rendition of the entire 'Demonic Dinner Dance' album.

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Vocalist/Bass player Murray Graham welcomes everyone for being the first guests to the 'Demonic Dinner Dance' as guitarist Liam Kane steps up the mark immediately by producing the great guitar intro as drummer Dave Cumming batters out a solid beat. Graham has a strong voice and the slower mid-section of the title track finally gets the crowd moving down the front.

'Lionheart' is memorable for its big easy to remember chorus and as the audience pick up it, their volume quickly increases. Graham really stretches his voice during this number, and Kane also manages to pull out a great guitar solo. All due credit to the band for being able to pull this kind of crowd pleaser off with ease, as the song finishes to a noisy ovation.

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Kane shares soloing duties with rhythm guitarist Derek Mitchell on 'Camp David' and by this point in the bands set, Mitchell comes into his own as he does his best to enthuse and entertain the crowd during the song – a not altogether fruitless task as the audience become more animated as the song progresses. He also slips in some Status Quo style guitar swinging tom-foolery during 'Forgotten Face' which manages to raise a smile or two from those in the audience who get the joke.

'High Maintenance Girlfriend' (on side two as Graham helpfully advises the audiophiles in the audience) was the first publically released track from the EP and so is more familiar than some of the other tracks, and the audience are once again in fine voice when the heads aren't bobbing along to the steady rhythm. Kane pulls out one of his best solos of the night here, and rightfully takes centre stage to showcase his skills much to the delight of the crowd.

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With the main set finished, the band are in no hurry to leave the stage as they perform what's best described as a Greatest Hits set which kicking off with 'Fire Island'. This is really a showcase moment for Kane once again as he's granted not one but two solos both of which are impeccably performed. As the track fades, the audience are introduced to former member Patrick Mitchell who takes to the stage to warm applause as he takes his place deputising guitar duties in place of Kane as the band carry on with 'Pleasure Slave'.

The track 'Kane' follows which is a fast and furious number with Patrick Mitchell still on guitar duties but you have to feel sorry for guitarist Kane whose left watching from the side of the stage. It's unfortunate the he too couldn't be included for these tracks as it's a celebration of the history of the whole band. As Patrick Mitchell leaves the stage, though, his performance is rewarded by some loud cheers from the crowd.

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With time ticking on towards the 10:00pm curfew, Kane returns to guitar duties in time for 'Motor Man' as rhythm guitarist Mitchell has another turn in the centre stage spotlight as he bounds around, throwing shapes while still managing to put on a very credible performance.

As the band surrender to the ever advancing curfew, they leave the stage after a final blast though '24 Hour Breakdown' which has Mitchell taking over bass duties freeing up Graham concentrate on his singing as he give the audience one of his best vocal performances of the night.

It's a solid end to a very good set from the band, and a worthy celebration of ten years since the band was formed. The tracks on the new album all sound very good live too, and it's a mark of respect to the band that they can play every track live – never an easy task, and one can only wish them good luck for the next ten years.

Vantage Point Set List:
The Big Welcome
Demonic Dinner Dance
Seating Plan I
Head Of The Table
Camp David
Conversation Stopper
Seating Plan II
Forgotten Face
High Maintenance Girlfriend
Seating Plan III
Reverse The Charges
This Is Now An Exit
Fire Island
Pleasure Slave
The List
Motor Man
24 Hour Breakdown

Vantage Point are:
Murray Graham – Vocals/Bass Guitar
Liam Kane – Lead Guitar
Derek Mitchell – Rhythm Guitar
Dave Cumming – Drums

Vantage Point Online:

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The support band for the gig was The Amorettes and it's just after 8:00pm as the trio saunter onstage almost un-noticed by the growing crowd. It's only when the music playing over the PA dies down that all eyes are drawn towards the stage. There's no word said from the band, though, as they blast into their set and from here on in, it's a classy, entertaining show from start to finish.

The Amorettes debut album, 'Haulin Ass', was released back in 2010 (reviewed by Metal Talk here) and the band play only a small selection of tracks from it here. 'Box Ticker' seems to be a firm favourite with the audience as drummer Hannah McKay starts the song with a short solid burst on her snare drum. The audience nod along to the beat but its bass player Heather McKay who shows them how it should really be done as she had bangs her head furiously throughout the energetic number.

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Their set is bookended with the only other tracks culled from their debut album, 'Son of a Gun' and the classic rocker 'Hot N' Heavy' showing how well these older tracks still stand up live. The former has vocalist/lead guitarist Gillian Montgomery teasing the audience with some onstage banter, whilst the latter has the audience happily singing along to the catchy chorus.

The remainder of the band's set is made up of entirely new numbers which is a daring move for any band to do, especially bearing in mind that the band's second album has yet to be released. If you like their debut release, however, there's a lot to look forward to if these new songs are any indication of the rest of the material slated for album number two.

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Montgomery gives her best solo of the night during 'Bull By The Horns' the lively, and before there's a comedy moment for the band and audience after a false start to 'Shoot from the Hip' leaves everyone laughing before they get it on the second attempt. The song itself is another sure fire hit in The Amorettes cannon, though, and is warmly received.

'Rock Me, Roll Me' follows which is probably my favourite song of the night – it might even ellipse my current favourite Amorettes number ('Whoot Woo' again, from their debut album, in case you wondered!) – which is another outstanding song that really packs a punch and I'm looking forward to seeing this in their set for the foreseeable future.

The Amorettes know how to write catchy, good time Rock N' Roll songs, and with their profile getting bigger and bigger year on year, they have a very bright future ahead of them. As their set finishes to rapturous applause, it's clear that, like me, there are lot of people looking forward to album number two, so that gives us all something to look forward to.

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The Amorettes Set List:
Gonna Get What's Coming
Box Ticker
Bull By The Horns
Shoot From The Hip
Rock Me, Roll Me
Son of a Gun
Hot N Heavy

The Amorettes are:
Gillian Montgomery – Guitar/Vocals
Heather McKay – Bass Guitar/Vocals
Hannah McKay – Drums/Vocals

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The Amorettes Online:

Vantage Point photos – © Waysted Photography 2014
The Amorettes photos – © Waysted Photography 2014

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