The intimate setting of Oxford Street’s 100 Club provides the platform for Daniel Wylie’s first gig in two and a half years, since leaving the Cosmic Rough Riders. And if it ain’t broke, then it’s a question of not needing to fix it as his new material involves little departure from the old.
Wylie’s backing is four fold, the lead guitarist separated from the rest of the band, and while they look at each other infrequently the ensemble is tight, backing vocals spot on. The choice of songs is good, even if Wylie has to be reminded of the set order!
The opening Snow Pony establishes the blueprint, and when he sings later “I never want to see your face again” you get the impression he’s really quite relaxed about the whole idea. Some good similarities to Teenage Fanclub pepper the set, particularly in the anthemic Unwind, its strong chorus off the back of a tricky falsetto opening which Wylie just pulls off.
Maybe I’ve Changed is one of the strongest songs – and much to our enjoyment, maybe he hasn’t. A bit more stage presence, which is bound to come as he eases back into the groove, and Wylie’s there.The much vaunted Veils follow, with a hint of confusion on opening track The Valleys Of New Orleans, as nobody can spot singer Finn Andrews. it turns out he’s bravely opted to start the down tempo number hunched behind the piano, which works well – we get to listen to the sound before seeing the nastiness of his frilled shirt!
Andrews looks like a young Pete Sampras, and goes through the gig with vocal resemblances to, amongst others, Marion, James and Starsailor. Well, something like that – his is a unique, instantly recognisable voice, over mannered at times in a way that detracts from the content of the songs.
Not that this mattersfor his audience though, as the band go down a storm – Andrews’ wild eyes and tossed head indicating a total involvement with his music, despite the distractions of having Baldrick and Gary Neville look-alikes in the band!
In all truth the band take a while to get going, not entirely convincing that theirs is an original voice until the closing trio of songs. The Tide That Left And Never Came Back is taut, tuneful and free of mannerisms, while the Scritti Politti penned Lions After Slumber makes an appearance in a performance of raw power. The closing More Heat Than Light offers the final conviction that the Veils have the potential to step up to the big league.
Andrews has a phenomenal voice and the band look good on stage, but the feeling remains that the voice is so individual and dominant that it needs some strong song writing to go with it. Yet from this gig it looks like the band are already securing a firm fan base. It will be interesting to chart their progress.