VNV Nation: Manchester Club Academy
Review 1st February 2019
On the odd occasion you get to review a gig where everything is bit of a mystery; the band, the music, even the venue. It can conjure up a slight nervous tension as you wonder if you have the right place, and of course just what the band will be like.
Having listened to VNV Nation’s latest album Noire, it gave me a sense of what was to come from them live: a slice of Euro-electronic, accompanied by some thought provoking and up lifting lyrics. With Noire being the band’s tenth studio album, I thought this would be a good place to start, and this proved a good call.
Having been to numerous gigs at the the various Manchester Academy Venues, but never Club Academy, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I must confess I was thrown by the sight of over 600 goths and punks smashing it on the dance floor, whilst VNV Nation’s lead singer rattled through tune after a tune: it resembled that scene from the 1998 film Blade, where a load of blood drops from the ceiling onto a bunch of leather clad vampires, whilst a banging remix of New Order’s Confusion: thankfully there are no vampires or blood and gore splashing everywhere, just a bunch of like minded folks singing and dancing along to some dance bangers!
For Harris this is very much a personal project: he writes, produces and sings on all the tracks and is genuinely touched by the crowd’s reaction to his songs, as the crowd sing back, throw their arms in the air, clap along and pogo about too. At one point he becomes chocked up, not expecting the positive response some of the tracks draw out. That’s what is most striking about the gig: the feeling of positivity that oozes from everywhere; from Harris’s positive lyrics right through to the good nature of the crowd. There is a European feeling to the gig, which is no bad thing at all, as you got the feeling you’re transported to a techno club in Hamburg or Berlin.
With a setlist including A Million, God of All, and Armour from the new album, as well as others from a near 30 year career, there was something for everyone. Harris’s Irish lilt uniquely blends with the cascading big beats and synths. At times it can become a touch repetitive as some songs murge and become indistinguishable, but this was a great gig, filled with energy, good vibes and some banging tunes.
VNV Nation are on tour throughout the UK.
For tickets http://www.seetickets.com/tour/VNV-nation or see their website anachronsounds.de for more information.