A real shitty thing happened last Friday night. Bitter-sweet is probably the best way to put it. I saw the Vasco Era play at the Espy. Vasco always put on an amazing live performance, so that was sweet. The ‘bitter’ part came when they announced that this would be Vasco’s last gig; the band are parting ways.
I had an idea that Vasco were ready to call it a day after running into Sid (lead singer) at Meredith Music Festival in December. It cut me pretty deep when he told me they were ready to call it quits; and let me tell you, it didn’t get any easier the second time I heard the news.
There was a ‘sweet’ part of the night though. The Pretty Little’s are an up and coming loud, rock, anything goes band led by a raspy voiced howling lead singer (Jack Parsons) just like Vasco. In fact, Parson’s guitar was plastered with a ‘VASCO’ sticker, whom he acknowledged as his inspiration to play. Needless to say he was pretty stoked to be supporting them.
The Pretty Little’s are just brilliant live. They had people swinging from the roof during their set… Literally. Their originals are loud and fun with some bangin’ riffs. They also play a cover or two which never disappoint (on Friday night, it was ‘Wolf Like Me’ by TV on the Radio).The Pretty Little’s will definitely and swiftly build a passionate core group of fans, much like Vasco. Mid-way through their last song (Small Towns) I leant to my mate and said that if in fact what Sid told me was true, and Vasco are ready to finish up, then The Pretty Little’s are our next band to follow. I suggest to everybody to check them out live sooner rather than later, and to purchase their EP on iTunes.
Vasco didn’t waste too much time to start their show. Sid came out with two shoes on, (double the amount of shoes he was wearing last time I saw them at the Espy) and played his version of Elvis’ Can’t Help Falling In Love With You. It turned into an immediate full crowd sing along; they were completely absorbed in the moment. As it wrapped up, Ted (bass) and Fitzy (drums) rushed onto stage to roll straight into the always loud ‘When we forgot to ask ourselves why it ever came’. The crowd went from an almost teary haze to a crowd surfing, roof swinging, high jumping mosh pit. Literally 30 seconds into the song, Fitzy was going so hard that his drum stick snapped in half and landed near the front of the stage. The Vasco Era were on fire.
They played a range of songs from all three albums. They took requests. Aside from Elvis, there were other covers which had everybody singing. Both Voodoo Child (Hendrix) and Where Is My Mind (Pixies) were epic They also played their first single Kingswood from way back in 2004.
Sid has always been good with crowd banter which is always humorous and interactive. It’s common for 10, 20 even 30 people to be on stage with the band by the end of shows. Unfortunately the security weren’t too keen on that happening this time. The crowd interaction was there though. Sid kissed one fan’s hand. He gave another some of his beer. My favourite though, was when he offered a seat to anyone heading to Rainbow Serpent. He was heading there and had a spare seat, how considerate!
It was only too fitting for them to finish up with a classic, a real crowd pleaser and one that the trio clearly enjoy playing – Honey Bee. When this song started, the mutual feeling seemed to be that this was the last 6 minutes of the Vasco Era’s brilliant and classic rock n roll road. As one, the whole place turned into a sweaty, squashy mosh pit; everybody was jumping. There was singing, screaming, praising, crying (well nearly) and any other awesome feeling that can be felt was done so in that 6 minutes. It was also super cool that when I lost my friends mid-mosh, I found myself next to the four Pretty Littles guys, who were rocking out just like everybody else. Once it wrapped up, the crowd burst into a massive chant ‘VASCO! VASCO! VASCO! VASCO!’ It was then that Sid was pulled down by the crowd and held aloft by the adoring fans that had him crowd surfing for the next minute or so.
While watching, moshing and singing throughout the show, I almost thought to myself that this was a show like no other. However, I then realized that this was a show like every other show Vasco have ever played. Every show was like their last, each as good as the next. I am sad I won’t get to see that again. You should be sad too.
Since the gig I have had lots of time to reflect. I have had showers, eaten breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I have driven places. I have done heaps of normal shit, all the while thinking about Vasco (most of the time I was simultaneously listening to them on my iPod). The best way to describe how I feel is that even though I have never had a pet dog, I feel like my pet dog has died. The Vasco Era finishing is not something I will cry about. If I was playing football this weekend, I would not wear a black armband to pay tribute either (I would probably just listen to them on the way to the match, or anywhere I go, ever), because you wouldn’t wear a black arm band for a dog, right? It is, however, a part of my life I have really enjoy for the last 7 years (when I discovered them) and I am going to fucking miss seeing the best band I have ever seen live. To The Pretty Littles, I look forward to you guys taking over and creating your own new era…
What I liked – Everything. Everything they have ever done. I also liked how ‘Vasco’ it was of them to announce their retirement at a free gig at the Espy. No press release, no big deal. Just to put on a fucking awesome show and say thank those who made it.
What I didn’t like – How ‘Vasco’ it was of them to call it quits. Why can’t they do a worldwide tour, so I could go to every show and let it actually sink in that my favourite band is finishing?
What we have to look forward to – ‘The Pretty Littles’. Also, ‘Stompy and the Heat;’ Scott Wilson’s band (who worked on ‘Oh we do like to be beside the seaside’)- Ted is playing bass for them. They rocked out at the Tote two weeks ago and we will definitely be seeing more of them soon.
How I aim to give tribute to them – Make the word ‘Vasco’ a common word for ‘cool, rad, awesome, gnarly’. I think that’s the least we can do. Example: If your friend learns how to do a new trick on his skateboard you could say “Oh man that was fuckin’ vasco as!” And you’re friend will be chuffed because Vasco is such a cool word to be used to describe what they just did.
A song I will dedicate to them – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JWTaaS7LdU
Thanks again Vasco, thanks again.