@ Newcastle Trillians, April 3 2011

Glam and sleaze music has recently reawakened somewhat.  The retro sounds of the 80s seem to be strutting back with style to rekindle the nostalgic fan’s love or even revitalise a new generation with intrigue.

But lurking amongst the dirge of this dirty, rampant form of rock music since 1986 are San Fransisco’s Vain. 

Still kicking with unrelenting determination and unrestrained attitude, the quintet have remained a cult act for over 20-years now, and judging by their performances in the present day, it’s easy to understand just why people keep coming back for more.

To ease the Newcastle crowd into a filthy, fringe fracas, Italy’s Markonee gave a lengthy, suitably melodic and catchy set. Every member of the five-piece are an essential component to their successful sound. Tuneful harmonising was meticulously strewn across their edgy, hard rock sound to create addictive pop chorus’ alongside technical double-kick drumming and lush lead guitar wizardry from Stefano Peresson. The dynamic vocal chords of Gabriele Gozzi were a true joy that only appealed increasingly for any casual listener, making Markonee accessible as well as energetic.

While people may have equally welcomed and respected the pleasant surprise provided from the worthy warm-up act, the atmosphere thickened with both anticipation and excitement as the crowd gingerly clustered further toward the stage.

Vain flooded the stage with a contamination of energy, beginning their set with the rambunctious Voyeurism. Joining the Frisco-based band on this tour are two members of Sweden’s Deathstars. Guitarist Eric “Cat Casino” Bäckman and bassist Jonas “Skinny Disco” Kangur both temporarily took up a guitar each to play for a band that they grew up listening to, and with this immense respect to the glamsters, the duo nailed their roles charismatically.

While the strong voice of veteran Davy Vain rang out in euphonious echoing effect, the Swedish pair were both allowed their time in the limelight of sweet, solo action, before all eyes skittered back to lively behaviour of the main man.

Love Drug allowed the frontman the perfect song to epitomise his rascal charm and give a mere slice of what was to come, before the anthemic favourite Who’s Watching You smashed inhibitions. As a performer, Vain doesn’t just use the stage as a tool of his showmanship, but rather exploits the occasion with lucid seductions usually aimed personally at one lucky female. Wasting no time in the chase, the US singer maintained this level of intimacy throughout the gig.

Push Me Over was delivered excellently with it’s rocky, raucous nature assuring that stiff limbs were coiled and sprung for the bouncing chorus. Generally it might not have been the most flattering of audiences for Vain, but classic track Beat The Bullet incited added participation, while Tommy Rickard broke down the song with a simple thud of bass drum and the venue filled with an enthused singalong chant.

Divulging in an extended story explaining the intro of the title track on the classic debut record No Respect, Davy Vain isn’t afraid to split his set for the sheer knowledge and confidence that his songs will make their impact regardless of a three-minute break. It’s all in the name, but Vain’s arrogance is undeniable yet justified. Icy finished what was a tight, talented and entertaining performance from the cult legends of sleaze.

Revival or not, Vain are a secular and timeless treat that will no doubt persevere in dishing out their mixed brand of hair-ridden, sleazy, glam music for years to come.

Calum Robson