Venues like Omeara are where artists like Bob Vylan flourish. Their interaction and directness with the crowd transcend you to their world, where their love for music teamed with the London they’ve grown up in and experienced really hits home.
Since winning the first ever Best Alternative Music Act award at the MOBO’s in November, Bobby and Bobbie have been riding that high and getting their name out there. The crowd is filled with people from all walks of life – both from the heavy music scene and those who may have just had their first experience in this world – and it’s a joy to see Bob Vylan doing the introducing.
This was a GIG. The energy both on and off stage was electric.
This show for Brits Week ‘23 in collaboration with War Child – a charity dedicated to helping children living through conflict – was Bob Vylan’s first show of the year and an incredible opportunity for a great cause they just couldn’t say no to. Before preparing for a full year of recording and touring, Bob Vylan graced the stage and kicked off the show with a heavy beat accompanied with some light stretching and meditation.
Up first is the third track of their most recent record Bob Vylan Presents the Price of Life, Big Man. The crowd is hyped from the very first beat with the entire room bouncing and fists up high in the air. “Why waste time with words when we can waste time with songs?” Bobby exclaims before getting stuck into Take That. The room chants along, “Bitch, run that money!”
Bobby takes a brief moment to address the audience and introduce themselves. “You may know us as the Fred Perry Mafia… Kerrang Award Killers… Top 20 Sweethearts… but mostly… Bob Motherfuckin’ Vylan!” The crowd erupts into applause. Before introducing their next song, I Heard You Want Your County Back which was featured in the Netflix series, The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself, an audience member interrupts the introduction but Bobby wittily claps back with “Rolf Harris, stop heckling me!” which has the rest of the crowd in stitches. The atmosphere is fantastic and during the song Bobby jumps out and is carried across the room.
After a few more tracks including, Northern Line, GDP, Bait The Bear and some more audience crowd surfing, Bob Vylan bring it down a bit and invite an audience member on stage. Alec has been to a lot of Bob Vylan shows and has bonded with them over their love for music and Manga. Bobby announces that Alec is getting married soon and offers to officiate the ceremony. “Bob Vylan love love itself. Love, love!”
“Our lives could have ended up in dumpsters. Don’t take it for granted. Support Warchild,” Bobby says before appropriately leading into the title track from their second album, We Live Here. Bobbie’s thunderous drums puts the crowd into a frenzy both dancing around to every beat and singing every word.
After Phone Tap and The Delicate Nature, Bobby takes a moment to check in with everyone and hand out water to the crowd. During this moment to cool down they announce they will be playing their largest show to date later this year, as well as playing a bunch of festivals during the summer and writing new music. 2023 is going to be a busy year.
Dedicating the next song to a certain Prince and the late Monarch, England’s Ending is the most grime heavy of the night and the one that gets the whole room moving and singing in unity. “Where’s that money you spent? Work all week, sell work on weekends. Still can’t pay my rent. Times are tough, I’ve had enough.” In contrast, they go straight into one of their punkiest tunes dedicated to the pacifists, Pretty Songs.
Before they close the show, Bob Vylan takes a second to express their gratitude for the support to both themselves and War Child and ends with a reminder that they’ll have new music soon. To finish, Bobby invites the crowd on stage for the finale of Wicked & Bad – a brief, but beautiful moment to end such a special show in both unison and harmony.
Bob Vylan do it right. Their ability to stand up and voice their frustration with the world and this country, whilst sharing their passion for music is hugely inspiring. Bobby is genuinely one of the most open and kind front men in the industry and their recent award wins are wholeheartedly deserved. If there’s one show to catch this year, a Bob Vylan show will not disappoint. Leaving a show hyped, happy and humble is a truly refreshing experience. Bob Vylan really do deserve every success coming their way.