The Vaselines @ Summerhall, Edinburgh, 1 Feb

Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee play a mix of songs from across their back catalogue tonight much to the delight of the 'Vaseline-faithful' that have turned out to Summerhall

Live Review by Lewis Wade | 05 Feb 2019
  • The Vaselines

Allaying Eugene Kelly's fear that "no-one will turn up" there's a sizeable crowd in Summerhall tonight for The Vaselines. It doesn't feel too tightly packed though, possibly because of the large proportion that are 'Vaselines-faithful', content to stand back and enjoy the show, rather than pushing forward. Kelly and Frances McKee thrive in the intimate setting, sniping at each other with their typical mixture of malice and affection and chatting with the audience.

There's a mix of songs from across the band's career, and tracks from their second period occasionally outshine the old ones due to some pacing and vocal issues. Set-opener High Tide Low Tide and Earth Is Speeding both sound excellent; up-tempo, but comfortable in the duo's register, whereas old favourite Oliver Twisted now sounds a little worn as they slow it down. However, there's no denying the power of hits like Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, Dying for It and Molly Lip's (with Carla J. Easton's vital bike horn and Kelly's choice harmonica), and a merry crowd happily lap it all up, dancing and hooting.

Shouts for Rory Rides Me Raw get steadily louder towards the show's end, and McKee explains its absence as a result of Kelly's embarassment. However, it makes an appearance in the encore to much delight and singing, with McKee beaming throughout. Son of a Gun rounds off the night in fitting fashion, still sounding fresh more than 30 years later and bringing a little warming cheer to a snowy night. The Vaselines only have a small output to work with, but less is more when you've got a sound that you, as a band, so perfectly encapsulate.