To say 2014 has been a big year for Vardis and their patient fans is an understatement. Following their reformation in 2013 after an almost 30 year hiatus, they played their 5th gig of 2014 at the Unity Works in Wakefield. This was a homecoming gig at a venue they had not played since their heyday and there is even a ticket from one of these gigs on display as you walk in dated 1982. Three UK festivals and a German one were already under their belts prior to Wakefield and from the 3 UK gigs I attended it was easy to see this was no half baked reunion to cash in on the NWOBHM resurgence as each show was very high energy and they seemed genuinely pleased to be performing again and the Wakefield gig was no exception.
The crowd were warmed up by strong sets from Iron Void, Defy All Reason and Toranaga. Sweet Exile should have opened the show but cancelled due to illness which could also have happened to Vardis, as drummer Gary Pearson was just shaking off a chest infection but he still played, which just goes to show their dedication to their fans. Tonight’s show was to be recorded for a 2015 release live album making the atmosphere even more electric. Following a brief intro from Stacey Sinkinson, one of Gary’s daughters, the band strolled on and after an “Hello, how are you doing?” from guitarist/vocalist Steve Zodiac it was straight into ‘Situation Negative’ from the debut live album 100MPH. The instrumental mid section was jammed out longer than the original length with Steve and bassist Terry Horbury standing toe to toe playing off each other. Other highlights were a heavier than a ton of bricks ‘Move Along’ also with a heavier beefed up ending. The main riff for ‘Dirty Money’ sent shivers down the spine. At the end of ‘Gary Glitter Part 1’, Steve made a reference to his lack of hair by saying “You can fry an egg on my head. Don’t know about talcum powder”.
There were no new songs aired from the forthcoming studio album due out in early 2015 but we got to hear ‘Where There’s Mods There’s Rockers’ from the Quo Vardis album, another number not played live in over 30 years. A lengthy heavy jam in ‘Radio Rockers’ preceded the heavy blues of ‘World’s Insane’ featuring some serious string bending and wah wah from Steve followed by ‘Love Is Dead’ and ‘Steaming Along’, 2 faster numbers from the World’s Insane album. The end of the set drew near with a lengthy spaced out guitar solo during ‘Learn How To Straight’ as the set ended with a frantic ‘Loser’.
Vardis only had time to play 2 of the planned encores but we were treated to a souped up rendition of ‘Let’s Go’ and a manic ‘If I Were King’ and that was it. 80 minutes seemed to fly by.
Steve Zodiac – Lead vocals/guitar.
Terry Horbury – Bass guitar/vocals.
Gary Pearson – Drums.
Gary Glitter Part 1.
Where There’s Mods, There’s Rockers.
Don’t Mess With The Best (Cos The Best Don’t Mess).
Love Is Dead.
Learn How To Shoot Straight.
If I Were King.
Thank you once again to Simon Dunkerley for use of his photos.