2015 started badly for Vardis when drummer Gary Pearson, who had doggedly searched for guitarist Steve Zodiac to reform the band again after a 30yr hiatus, decided to quit after the band had only been back together for almost 2yrs. Fans wondered what the future would hold but a few months later the position was filled by Joe Clancy. The pre gig interview I did with them revealed that there was never any doubt that the band would stop working and that Joe had been a fan back in the early 80’s.
I was told to expect a few surprises in the set and none more so than opener ‘Silver Machine’ by Hawkwind. Vardis’ version is heavier than the original with Terry Horbury’s thundering bass runs high in the mix. Follower ‘Lion’s Share’ saw Steve singing in a higher range than he was last year and there is no pause as ‘Radio Rockers’ kicks in out of the punchy p.a system. Things got heavier with the juggernaut rhythms of ‘Move Along’ and so the second surprise of the evening came from a brand new Vardis song.
“Are there any pirates in the room?” asked Steve. ‘Jolly Roger’ with it’s Adam And The Ants like drum intro is a trademark boogie song with sea shanty tinged guitar solos. A raucous ‘Dirty Money’ was the warm up to lengthy jams in ‘Gary Glitter Part 1’, ‘World’s Insane’ and notably on the shift in gear to ‘Love Is Dead’. Set highlight for me was the heavy but catchy ‘Dont’ Mess With The Best’ as a mini drum solo from Joe gave way to the melody filled ‘Where There’s Mods, There’s Rockers’.
The finishing line was unfortunately in sight as the intense main riff from ‘Learn How To Shoot Straight’ flashed in as the subdued first part of ‘Loser’ gave way to the drum driven high energy finish. Another surprise was ‘If I Were King’, normally played as an encore, ended the set and a brief respite meant encore time was a glorious ‘Let’s Go’ leaving the crowd shouting for more but that was it. 80 minutes seemed to fly by and Vardis can next be seen playing their first gig in over 30yrs in London at the Bush Hall on July 18th with Diamond Head also on the bill.
Avid Vardis fans will be able to buy an individually numbered E.P called 200mph, with just 200 copies available on the night.
Vardis band line up :-
Steve Zodiac – Lead vocals/guitar.
Terry Horbury – Bass guitar.
Joe Clancy – Drums.
Gig set list :-
Gary Glitter Part 1.
Love Is Dead.
Don’t Mess With The Best with drum solo.
Where There’s Mods, There’s Rockers.
Learn How To Straight Straight.
If I Were King.
Situation Negative (not played).
Out Of The Way (not played).
Thanks to Simon Dunkerley for use of his photo from the gig.