My granddad always says “show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”. And with a quick sweep around the rather nice Clapham Grand, I was already getting a feeling for the Van Susans. A uniform of jeans and t shirts (unisex), a couple of crap hats (I blame YOU Pete Doherty) and two 30-somethings talking about hash tags, it was as edgy as a circle. And when the band came on, colour coordinated in grey, there didn’t seem to be any impact whatsoever. Like sitting in a room heated to body temperature.
Having recently launched their debut album, Paused in the Moment, the band apparently sold out their last gig at the Barfly, Camden. I wish I could say the same for The Grand, but alas it seemed that a lot of people were washing their hair that evening.
Generic indie pop, the five piece played well but the earth didn’t even twitch. One element, which was interesting and engaging (and something to stop you going outside for a fag) was Holly McLatchie on the violin. Vampy and gum-chewing, she’s not only great on the violin but she’s the USP to differentiate the Van Susans from the over saturated indie-pop market.
You don’t need banter after every song and if the performance is strong enough, it can prove to be unnecessary. However, it felt like the band were racing through their tracks (maybe to fit them all in) and just wanted it to be over with. The audience may have been audience aware of this and apart from the two fans leaning up against the stage, singing every word, the Van Susans became background music to the rest of the crowd. Which is never nice.
It must have been fairly distracting as we were told to “chill out” for their last song which was more of a quiet number. If a band needs to tell you this whilst they’re performing, you know that something is not quite right.
Whilst the music was mediocre, you couldn’t fault the delivery; it does exactly what it says on the tin. The band performed well with the moody, soulful Olly Andrews leading. Originally from Bromley, at times I could have sworn he was Irish, but maybe that’s just his thing!
Tipped for great success, I can see the Van Susans going one of two ways; ending up on a mediocre, melancholy indie film soundtrack or on the rack at Poundland.