With a career lasting thirty-three years they've pretty much seen and done it all...
With a career lasting thirty-three years, vocalist/guitarist Ian "Knox" Carnochan has pretty much seen it and done it all as frontman of The Vibrators. Originally formed in 1976, they are still out there doing it like only they know how. With only a few quiet periods here and there The Vibrators have been constantly touring, writing & recording but somehow have evaded the eyes and ears of the mass media probably due to the fact they are a solid, hard working Punk/Pub Rock 'n' Roll band and do not do "spectacular gimmicks" nor seek attention through superficial stunts.
Tonight they find themselves in Glasgow playing Ivory Blacks, a rock club virtually in the centre of the city, on a bitterly cold December night when lesser committed bands would want to stay in beside the fire.
Supports for the evening were the usual suspects, local bands The Snipes (newly reformed after a recent split and now trying to find their way back to top form), Razorblade Smile (with newly aquired human drummer Jim Cosgrove in an extended guest capacity - far better than the usual drum machine) and The Prairie Dugz (a tight UK Subs-esque unit from Kilmarnock). All the support bands go down well as usual with friendly abuse and banter flying in both directions between punters and band members - always a good laugh to give Mekon (Dugz bassist) some "who ate all the pies" lines!
The time arrives for The Vibrators to take the stage and I look around the club to be disappointed with the turn out, mind you it is bloody cold! This doesn't faze The Vibes at all and they open with "Petrol" from their first album "Pure Mania". Next up is, ironically, "Pure Mania" which is not the title track of the first album but a track from the second album "V2". I've never been able to work that little confusing conundrum out myself (I will have to ask Knox about that one day).
Tracks are flung out at the gathered few like bullets from a gun with the odd bit of chat from Knox until we arrive at "Troops Of Tomorrow". Original drummer John "Eddie" Edwards encourages the punters to clap along to the methodical tribal beat while bassist Pete (or Sexy Pete as Mrs Fish calls him) gives everyone his mean, evil, stare glare while trying his best not to laugh. Knox cuts a lithe figure onstage while weilding his Telecaster with purpose, his long greying hair topped off with his trademark baseball cap as he spits out the lyrics to the songs so familiar to The Vibrators fans. Then, as they're still promoting the new album "Under The Radar" we get a couple of new tracks - "Free Spirit" and the title track before we're back on more familiar ground with older songs again.
I'm impressed with their delivery, the last time they played here Knox was still recovering from a shoulder injury so had enlisted ex-The Members guitarist Nigel Bennett (who plays on most of the new album incidentally) and the show seemed to be lacking something. No fault of anyone in particular but the difference tonight was very noticable. Knox seems much happier when he's playing guitar rather than just singing. In what seems like a blur the main set is finished (a sure sign that I was enjoying it I guess) before the return to play a couple of songs for the encore. "We Are The Dead" - another newbie and finally "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah".
All the expected songs were scattered throughout the set - "Whip And Furs", "London Girls", "Baby Baby" and "Automatic Lover" but it was a nice mix of new and old which was delivered with a vitality that belies the actual age of the band, they certainly can still give the young bands a damn fine run for their money, that's for sure.
Full Set List
2. Pure Mania
3. I Need A Slave
4. Whips & Furs
5. Kid's A Mess
6. Troops Of Tomorrow
7. Amphetamine Blue
8. Free Spirit
9. London Girls
10. Into The Future
11. Under The Radar
12. 24 Hr People
13. Baby, Baby
14. Judy Says (Knock You In The Head)
15. Disco In Moscow
16. Automatic Lover
17. We Are The Dead
18. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah