Tuesday 19 November 2019

Review: The Vamps at Dublin's 3Arena

The Vamps arrive for the Radio 1 Teen Awards
The Vamps arrive for the Radio 1 Teen Awards
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

The Vamps are a very modern pop phenomenon. Rather than try the old school approach of shopping their demos around record labels, or pursue The X Factor route to stardom, they are bona fide YouTube celebrities. They even found each other and formed through YouTube and Facebook.

In 2012, they scored a deal thanks to uploading clips to the video-sharing website, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this week. In 2015, they are capable of selling out the biggest indoor venue in the country and will be back on these shores for a date at Cork's live at the Marquee summer series. They only released their debut album, Meet the Vamps, last year.

Even though their career is in its infancy, Connor, Tristan, James and Brad manage to put in an hour and half shift. Granted, the bulk of their set consists of cover versions, such as a crowd-pleasing medley of 'Uptown Funk', 'Seven Nation Army', 'Shake it Off' and 'We Can't Stop', but it is a rather impressive feat nevertheless.

They know how to clown around and have fun, dressing up as Darth Vader for another cover of 'In Too Deep' by Sum 41 and inviting a fan onstage. A truly surreal moment occurs about half way into the show, as drummer Tristan Evans launches into a raucous drum solo as his kit is elevated above the stage on a raising platform. In rock n' roll, drum solos are normally a cue to go to the bar or rush to the loos, but Evans turns it into a concert highlight, complete with a blitzkrieg of Skrillex style dubstep beats. The Vamps are a 21st century pop juggernaut in more ways than one.

These English pop kids certainly aren't reinventing the wheel of popular music, but they know how to deliver to their shrieking tweenage fan base. Their show is pacey and slick, and they do more than enough to shake off the slightly cynical suggestion that they are nothing more than One Direction with guitars.

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