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Vega, Santa Cruz & Curran - Barfly, London - 5-7-2013 | FESTIVALPHOTO

Vega, Santa Cruz & Curran - Barfly, London - 5-7-2013



First up were Curran, who judging by the setlist were a bit confused as to what month it was (the setlist showed the date as May instead of July). They put in a very good performance and did a good job of trying to get the crowd going. Their half hour set passed fairly quickly, but I was surprised by the inclusion of cover versions of Thin Lizzy's 'Rosalie' and Billy Idol's 'Rebel yell'. In a set that short I'd have expected them to stick to their own material, but I have to admit that their version of 'Rebel Yell' was a very good way to end the set.

Curran setlist:

Run back to you
Good guys
My love won't let you down
I'll stand by you
This ain't love
Rebel Yell

Next up were Santa Cruz. They are a Finnish rock band who are signed to Spinefarm records, but I hadn't heard anything by them before tonight so really didn't know what to expect. The first impression was as they came on stage - a very glam rock look with the sort of big hair favoured by 80s glam rock bands. Once they started to play though, it became clear that this isn't some lightweight glam rock band but an excellent rock band. Nice and heavy with twin guitar sound, but with plenty of melody and some really catchy songs with big sing-along type choruses. This was really impressive stuff, with hints of bands like Skid Row. They put in an excellent performance that went down extremely well with the crowd, and their 30 minute set just flew by.

This was their first UK gig, and judging by how well they went down then I'm sure it won't be their last - I can see a tour with Santa Cruz, Jettblack and Reckless love going down well - all three bands with their own sound but all likely to appeal to a similar audience.

I'd been looking forward to tonights show since it was announced. With the release of their latest album (What the Hell), Vega are sounding better than they've ever sounded before, and with some of the songs really sounding like the sort of thing that would go down well live I was looking forward to hearing some of the new material played live.
With Santa Cruz having put in a superb performance then Vega were going to have their work cut out to show why they are the headliners tonight. In practice though it didn't take them long. Nick Workman is an excellent frontman who not only has a great voice, but who knows how to use the space available to him, and to interact well with the crowd. With the whole band sounding great they put in a great set including seven songs from the new album, with 'What the hell', 'White knuckle ride' and 'Hands in the air' sounding particularly impressive. It's hard to say how good they sound live other than to say that if they'd recorded their set and released it on CD it would sound more polished than some bands studio albums - they really are that good live.

It was a great night - Vega are sounding better than ever both on CD and live, and Santa Cruz were superb - I'd certainly like to see them back in the UK before too long. Curran were very good too, but were outclassed by the other two bands.

I wasn't impressed by the venue though - there was another gig on after the Vega one, and the venue allowed the bands for that gig to carry all their gear into the venue by the main entrance and half block the only public entry/exit, which made it a lot slower for people to leave after the gig. The bands for the second gig should have been made to wait outside till the venue was clear.

Vega setlist:

Kiss of life
Not there for you
You can't run
She walks alone
Into the wild
What the hell
Hearts of glass
Stay with me
White knuckle ride
Hands in the air


Skribent: Anthony May
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