Home Festivals Gig Review: Vambo reinvent 70s rock at the Stone Free Festival

Gig Review: Vambo reinvent 70s rock at the Stone Free Festival

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When you find a band you weren’t looking for, then you know there is something very special about them. Just so with Vambo when they appeared on the Orange Amp Stage at the Stone Free Festival in the O2 Arena in London.


When you see Vambo on stage for the very first time you will be immediately struck by both sight and sound. They visually look like a younger Jonny Depp has gone back in time picked up most of a younger version of Aerosmith and Deep Purple and formed their own band. And their sound!?! It sounds exactly how they look. And it is incredible. From the very first moment they strut like peacocks onto the stage they owned every space and everything they did was perfectly synchronised like they had been playing together for decades. Their performance fitted easily on the small stage but they could just have easily done the same act with the same impact on the Arena stage. This is a future stadium band polishing their full act.

After their intro the audience got the privilege to hear “Willy”, “Life”, and “Paradise”. It is no understatement to say that their performance of each song was incredible. Vibrant, funky, grooved up 70’s style rock with a hard 2018 edge. This is no nostalgia laden tribute. They have a truly unique sound and style, strewn with little familiar notes here and there that, like hearing your name at a party, perks up your ears.

Their performance continued with “Circles”, “Not The Same”, and “Fast Car”. Each one delivered with a swinging cheeky verve and an effervescence that makes you want to rock out with a big smile on your face. Don’t mistake this description for light entertainment. Vambo thumped down a full on rock and roll performance with chunky blues filled riffs, thrumming bass lines and storm laden drums. The vocals fit like a soft velvet glove over the music tying it all together into a single package of a faultless and seamlessly delivered rock experience of the highest order. And the delivery of “Fast Car” really felt like someone had rejuvenated Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” for 2018. It really was a joy to behold.

Then came a completely on point performance of their new single “Why Why Why”. The audience had crowded up to the barriers next to the stage and were really feeling the flow of the spirited tracks being pumped out. The song itself was pure early Aerosmith with a bluesy groove that makes it just impossible to stand still while listening to it.

To cap it all off they did what all the big bands do, and threw in a cover. And boy, what a perfectly chosen cover! None other than Deep Purple’s “Burn” and, boy, did they smash that cover right out of the stadium. Every part was just beautifully delivered, perfectly. It would make the hairs on your arms stand on end.

They are an undeniable tour de force of rock with a magnetically captivating and compelling stage presence with each member filling that stage with a natural feeling powerful energy. Jack’s vocals are incredibly smooth and alluring even when he is screaming, Pete’s guitar work is just an outstanding performance with the skills to back up his nonchalant confidence, Steve is a powerhouse behind the drums belting a pumping rhythm and James is just one of the coolest bass players on the block with a beard that real men just look at and nod in appreciation.

Vambo are

Vocals – Jack Stiles,
Guitar – Pete Lance
Drums – Steve Price
Bass – James Scott

Review by Ivor Whitten

Photos by Darren McVeigh

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