Live Concert Photography: The Vacant Lots with VOWWS and De Lilith at Saint Vitus 3/22/18
Comprised of Jared Artaud (guitar, vocals, lyrics) and Brian MacFayden the members of the electro psych rock act The Vacant Lots split their time between Burlington, VT and New York City, and since their formation they’ve developed a reputation for crafting primal psych rock that draws from punk rock, Native American drumming, Indian tempura, early rock ‘n’ roll, The Gun Club and Television. With the release of a handful of singles, appearances on Sonic Cathedral Records‘ psych rock compilation Psych for Sore Eyes, and Cleopatra Records‘ Psych Rock Christmas and their first two albums, 2014’s Departure and 2017’s Endless Night, the duo have earned national and international recognition; in fact, they’ve toured with and/or opened with an impressive list of artists including Peter Kember (a.k.a. Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 and E.A.R.)’s Spectrum, Galaxie 500, Luna and Dean and Britta’s Dean Wareham, The Growlers, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Suicide and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and they’ve played Austin Psych Fest (now known as Levitation Festival), Liverpool Psych Fest, Secret Garden Party and others.
The duo played an incredible headlining set at Saint Vitus that featured material from both of their full-length albums, and a guitar that was stabbed with a butcher knife before being smashed to bits — a first for me, and I’ve been to a few thousand shows in my life. VOWWS, one of this site’s latest mainstays and De Lilith opened. Check out photos from the show below.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles-based duo VOWWS, and as you may recall, with the release of their 2015 debut album, The Great Sun, the Sydney-born, Los Angeles-based duo received attention for a sound that drew from a diverse array of influences including classic Western, electronica, surf rock, metal, post-punk and industrial rock. Released earlier this month, the duo’s sophomore album Under the World continues their ongoing collaboration with longtime friend, mentor, the renowned engineer and producer Kevin S. McMahon; however, the new album reportedly finds the duo eschewing much of the familiar post-punk tropes of their previously released material, and focusing on razor sharp hooks, direct vocals and richer, more nuanced textures to push their sound in a new direction; in fact, album tracks like the 80s New Wave-like “Forget Your Finery” featured a deliberate attention to melodicism and infectious, arena rock friendly hooks, the somewhat industrial track “ESSSEFF” seemed to nodd at Depeche Mode‘s “Policy of Truth” and U2′s “Mysterious Ways,” while “Structure of Love” struck me as being one of the album’s most gothic and cinematic tracks.
Of course, their live set featured those songs and material from both of their first two albums.
The band is still in the middle of a lengthy North American tour. Check out the remaining tour dates below.
3.30 – Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH *
3.31 – Deluxx Fluxx – Detroit, MI *
4.1 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL *
4.3 – Reverb Lounge – Omaha, NE *
4.4 – Hi Dive – Denver, CO *
4.5 – Metro Music Hall – Salt Lake City, UT *
4.6 – Neurolux – Boise, ID *
4.7 – Barboza – Seattle, WA *
4.8 – Tonic Lounge – Portland, OR *
4.10 – Old Nick’s – Eugene, OR *
* w/ Soft Kill and Choir Boy
Opening the night was De Lilith, a new and up-and-coming band that formed last year and features two extremely accomplished members — Richey Rose (guitar vocals), who has had stints backing Transvision Vamp‘s Wendy James, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds‘ Nick Sclavunos, and as a result Rose toured as a member of the openers for the likes of Echo and The Bunnymen and Manic Street Preachers; and Bex Sheers, who spent much of the mid-2000s curating underground club nights and events in Sydney alongside internationally renowned acts like Justice, Cut Copy and Digitalism, while developing a career as a stylist and creative director for print publications, brands and artists. Additionally, Sheers has also creatively directed soundtracks for Australian fashion shows. Interestingly, as the duo notes the band can trace their origins to its members mutual love and appreciation for dark and emotive soundtracks — that to my ears draw from shoegaze, drone and minimalist electronica.