(St. Andrews Hall - Detroit, MI - August 4th, 2006)
I wasn't sure what to expect as I waited for The Vacancies to begin their set. I had never heard them before, but the simple knowledge that they had worked with such greats as Joan Jett had my hopes high. The atmosphere was buzzing as many fans were already pumped up for the concert.
The band came out all in a row. Billy Crooked (vocals) led the bunch, followed closely by Bo (bass), Michael James (guitar), and Angelo Merndino (drums). The members were pumping their fists and yelling to the audience as they made their way into position, causing the audience to shout back, and pump their fists in turn. It was only a few moments before the band began to play "Radio Revolution". My expectations were not only met, but surpassed.
Remember when punk bands actually shared opinions as opposed to the chaotic tantrums they tend towards today? Well, The Vacancies remember too. We were only about three songs into the set, and already I was converted to a fan. Their songs were themed toward anti-political sentiments and general stand-uppery. Not only did they get the point across but they did it with catchy harmonies and a Sex Pistols attitude.
"DETROOOOIIIIIIT!" Crooked let rip before the band set into "Save Yourself". The audience was jumping and hyper and singing along. For every bit of energy the audience gave up, the band seemed to return, stomping their legs to the beat. Next up was "Leave it Alone" which only had the audience singing louder.
At no point did the energy stop. The band stuck to mostly songs off of their most recent release Beat Missing or a Silence Added, a fact that didn't seem to bother audience members much, if their participation in the concert was any indication.
They closed the night with "Hey Man" and everyone jumped up and down and shouted "WOO" in tandem with the catchy idiom in the song. If their philosophy is "Leave them wanting" then I would say it was adequately fulfilled. The audience stayed for a while after the set talking about the night and reliving the fresh memories. A newly converted fan, I immediately headed to their merchandise booth to snag a copy of Beat Missing or a Silence Added for myself.
Review by Natalie Borsh