My Vitriol @ Summerhall, Edinburgh, 8 Nov
My Vitriol put in a lacklustre and uninspiring showing on their return to Edinburgh
Oh dear. This is a shambles of unexpected proportions. It's bad enough that ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead cancelled their potentially exciting little co-headline run with My Vitriol only a week earlier due to visa issues, but rather than make lemonade with these lemons, the latter band have seemingly chosen to kick said fruit around sheepishly for a bit before eventually pissing in cups and expecting us to drink it all the same. Metaphorically, of course. The reality is, disappointingly, much more lacklustre and frustrating.
To give them the benefit of much doubt, losing a massive part of the bill – and for many, unquestionably the main draw – at such short notice is a difficult setback to recover from, and on top of that, they've been riddled with illness too, even cancelling a show of their own only a few days earlier. However, in situations like these you either go hard or you go home. And it becomes clear pretty quickly that My Vitriol should've gone home.
Don't be mistaken, they're not a bad band in essence and their album Finelines remains a clear highlight of the early '00s era of lush, post-grunge UK rock music, but it's hard to have much sympathy for a performance that seems to lack any sense of purpose, direction or guts, all things considered.
While the band's line-up has been in flux since its beginning, the inclusion of pre-programmed bass, harmonies and lack of amps in favour of pre-amp simulators and flesh-born living bassist sucks all real and raw energy out from what could've easily been a loud and powerful performance tonight, if the source material is anything to go on. If you were to close your eyes you would hear a fairly faithful rendition of their recorded material, albeit sung with a cold. But open them and the reality is of three guys on hard times who want the night to be over. Even the song they joke about being their 'one hit' (Always: Your Way) is a weak slap in a prize fight tonight, lowering us even further into the depths of gig hell. It's a bad night, and one can only hope that it's merely an anomaly. But that requires having faith, and there's not much cause for that right now.