The Vamps review: Charming pop quartet do exactly what it says on tin
Pop: The Vamps, 3Arena, dublin
Published 30/03/2016 | 07:00
The Vamps' 3Arena concert got off to an inauspicious start as lead singer Bradley Simpson appeared on a giant video screen and pleaded with fans to buy the band's new single. You wouldn't catch One Direction doing that - though, of course, you won't catch One Direction doing much of anything these days as they're off touching up their quiffs on their "indefinite" hiatus.
This presents an opportunity for The Vamps, essentially a standard issue boyband gene-spliced with an annoying mid-2000s guitar outfit in the Busted/McFly tradition.
Obviously they weren't signed for their avant-garde credentials yet, despite their reliance on formula, the quartet are not without their charms. They also bring the resounding novelty of not having been assembled in full public view on a reality TV show.
From the opening chimes of Rest Your Love, they were infectiously upbeat - a refreshing departure from the cynical, phoned-in cheerfulness often projected by boybands.
Granted, many of their songs sounded as if they were written by Simon Cowell's Twitter account. Yet they were performed with full-throated determination, with the curly-mopped Simpson, especially, dashing about with actual, can't-be- faked glee.
We are, of course, far past the stage where boybands are unable to sing and play and, as musicians, The Vamps were impressively slick. Rollicking guitar solos underpinned the zinging Cheater; Somebody To You found drummer Tristan Evans tossing his sticks in the air and giving it the full Bonham.
A jaunty, falsetto-splashed cover of Carl Douglas's Kung Fu Fighting, meanwhile, was surprisingly non-horrible - a disco purist could have sat through it without feeling their eardrums were about to implode in protest.
It will have helped if you were a 15 year-old-girl attending their first concert. But even if you were old, grumpy and cynical you could understand why The Vamps need to exist and feel mostly at peace with the fact.