May 13th, 2009
The Vaselines, that charming Scottish “buzz” band you’ve been hearing so much about lately, delivered a fantastic set at Neumos last night in front of an appreciative—if slightly subdued—Seattle crowd. Near the end of their rollicking set, Eugene Kelly thanked both Sub Pop and Nirvana for “helping us out”, the former for introducing their records to the world and the latter for championing their music. Despite the sincerity in Kelly’s voice, however, the rest of the (frequent) stage banter from him and Frances McKee was biting, raunchy, hilarious and second to none.
Topics included—and I’ll try to use the exact lingo here—masturbating teenagers, a “young boy’s cum on her face”, Jesus being a cunt, Hare Krishna (and Eugene’s mock involvement with), illegitimate Mormon marriages with a male harem, Mommy V and Daddy V, stroking pussy (that of Frances and her waffling ways with Eugene), a not-too-good drummer indictment (greeted with a chorus of boos and quickly retracted), and lots of other things that sound funny simply because of the Scottish accent. Frances ably plays the part of provocative comedienne and I caught Eugene rolling his eyes at her more than once. It was nice to see the playful chemistry between the two exes hadn’t diminished one bit.
Despite all this intersong entertainment, we did show up for the music, right? Well, the band that is famously two had three others on stage, including a third guitarist (Stevie “V” Jackson of Belle and Sebastian) who stood off to the side and fleshed out their ditties with some classic hollow-body twang. “Son of a Gun” began the show and set off the galloping cavalry of guitar and drums that is the Vaselines’ gleeful garage-pop. “Molly’s Lips”, “Monsterpussy”, “Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam”, “Teenage Superstars” and “Oliver Twisted” were all featured, among others. My favorite was “Sex Sux (Amen)”, however, with it’s crunchy two-step rhythms and elite danceability. They also explicitly introduced a few new songs, just to prove they haven’t been “lazy bastards” for the past 20 years. It might have been just me, but the new ones sounded a bit more…epic than their existing songs; a tad more slow burning. One chorus was slightly facetious: “We got nothing to say/but we’re sayin’ it anyway”. Might this be the beginning of a new LP? We shall certainly see.
Not having paid much attention to the band in prior years, they completely won me over. Frances’ angelic coo and acerbic wit melds well with Eugene’s deadpan sing-along and their straightforward approach to boisterous guitar pop. The encore included the hits “Rory Rides Me Raw”, “You Think You’re a Man” and “Dum Dum”.
I’ll put up a few pics later.