VANT return to Belfast for a headline show which is small in size but huge in passion, intensity and loud punk rock.
Despite forming only 3 years ago, VANT have had an impressive rise through the ranks in rock music, helping to pave the way for a new wave of British rock. They have toured with You Me At Six and Royal Blood, and already made their way around the festival circuit, including the likes of Glastonbury and Reading. It’s a particularly exciting time in camp VANT as the four-piece from London (although they’ll tell you they’re from Planet Earth) have recently released their debut album, DUMB BLOOD, which brings them to Belfast’s Oh Yeah Centre on the fourth stop of the tour.
The show starts strong with the catchy Fly-By Alien, leading into Jesus Was a Conman where frontman and band namesake Mattie Vant decides to get acquainted with the audience and jumps down from the stage, high-fiving almost every single person in the crowd. From this moment onwards, all eyes were on him. Mattie Vant has that unique combination of confidence, charm and mystery needed for a dynamic frontman and his ability to read the audience and engage them is incredibly impressive and enjoyable to watch. VANT continue to tear through their setlist and, despite the fact the record was only released over a week ago, the young and enthusiastic audience are dancing, singing and screaming along to every track.
After about half an hour, even though the band’s live set was very tight, I felt the show was beginning to lack some fire. Luckily, these worries were short-lived as VANT really kicked it up a gear in the second half of their set with album opener The Answer. This breathed new life into the audience too, with mosh pits and crowd surfers appearing within a matter of seconds and continuing for the rest of the gig. Most of the set highlights followed on from here, with Put Down Your Gun, Lampoon, Karma Seeker and Do You Know Me? all going down a storm with the crowd.
VANT are also known for their politically charged lyrics, with themes like war, immigration and global warming appearing throughout their songs. This is emphasised in the second half of the show as the passion and intensity in the room peaks, with Mattie offering the simple phrase “F**K Donald Trump” to close a song, prompting massive cheers.
During the gig’s highest points, I found myself forgetting I wasn’t actually in a 5,000 cap venue and rather was standing in one of Belfast’s smallest venues. That’s just how good VANT are, with riffs big enough to fill an arena one day and forthright, bold and energetic lyrics which get even the people at the back chanting and nodding along. It is clear that this band have enough talent, energy and drive to become something big and if anyone knows this, it’s VANT: “You are the guys who will be standing at the back of a 1,000 cap venue saying, ‘I knew these guys when they were cool!’”, Mattie only half-jokes.
Whatever size the venue is when VANT return to Belfast, make sure you go. They’re unmissable.