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  • Chris Farlie

Vic Allen Band! - Buckle & Boots 2021 - The Paddock Stage

It was only a couple of weeks ago that we reported on Vic Allen's first post Lockdown gig at the Sound Lounge and now here she is playing to a packed Paddock Stage, and immediately there are a couple of key differences in the performance. The first is that for this set she'll be standing up as opposed to being perched on a stool, now not sure why this should have any bearing but it just does! The second most noticeable aspect of the performance is that she has a band in tow! We've spoken to Vic before about whether her future will one day be fronting a band and if she does, this combo of cajon, bass and violin would probably not be it however what it did today was to add a touch of elegance class and sophistication to the whole proceeding as well as filling out the overall sound.

Things kicked off with "Enough", played with a sense of urgency, perhaps driven along by the cajon in a glorious version, that saw Vic's guitar playing speed up, which in turn added a sense of intensity to the vocals as she sang

"It ain't enough for me" while the violin gave it the additional element of refinement.

"Bittersweet" was once again punctuated by lovely violin lines with Vic's vocal really conveying the emotions and feelings stirred as she sang the line

"I may never see you again".

For "Quit", there was again a remarkable charm about the violin that seemed to enhance some of the ugly controlling behaviour described in the lyrics and bring them to the fore

"You talk talk talk about everything

That i know you have me want to change about me"

The contrast between the beauty of the violin lines and the drama being delivered in "I Can" was palpable, where the harsh reality of realising you can do without someone strangely never sounded so beautiful.

The first of Vic's unreleased material came with "Drive Through" recalling the unlikely tale of romance at the McDonald's car par,k with Vic really starting to push what she could achieve with her singing, the uptempo nature of the song capturing the exuberance and excitement felt at the time.

Vic has a totally relaxed air when discussing what her songs about, "Barcelona" another of her unreleased songs has a tragic element to it as it sways between short term infatuation and the knowledge that it will never be anything more. I'm not sure if violinist Molly was intended to provide backing vocals or whether she got caught up in the emotion of the moment and started singing along, only to get captured by the microphone. whether planned or happy accident it added another layer to the overall sound.

The set was to close with another new song, this one written over Lockdown, "Suitcase" shows a real development in writing style, from the concentrated guitar playing, through to the overall melody phrasing and delivery. It is Vic's favourite song of the moment and it is easy to see why. There is self analysis and realisation about who Vic is in this song The subtle additional instrumentation was the cherry on the cake in an all to brief set.

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