Scott Lavene + The VCR + The NU + The RA Project @ Sunflower Lounge, 13 June 2019

Who is Scott Lavene you might wonder? He’s a storyteller and a songwriter from Essex who writes about his own life about what he has seen and done. His maverick mind creates punk ballads and gutter-pop with witty lyrics and incisive wordplay about everyday life. After watching a few videos of his songs, like ‘My Kind Of Girl’ and ‘Superclean’, I knew I had to see him live.

After releasing his debut album at the beginning of this month, the singer goes on the road for the ‘Broke’ tour and taking Port Erin on tour as his backing band titled ‘The Pub Garden’.

His songs are personal stories created by a negatively realistic thinking with some self-deprecating humour, mixed with twinkling guitar riffs and melancholic keyboards. Between songs he talks about his pop-punk-poetry, telling even more about each song which already has a lot of details. He even expresses his surprise for getting only good reviews (“except one that we’re not going to talk about”) with all his nihilism and witty jokes.

Alternating between an electric guitar and keyboards, but always with his sunglasses on, he sings about the struggling and obsessions of the modern world, going to an unknown place where he would finally have a good time, afterlife, working in a factory and having an amphetamine problem, cynicism, avoiding the problems in the world, disliking small talk and so on in songs like ‘Modern World’, ‘Someplace New’, ‘Apples and Pears’, ‘My Stereo’, ‘Light of the Moon’ and ‘It’s all gonna blow’.

Scott is not always pessimistic though as he said about the up beating bop ‘Superclean’ that “It’s about feeling good, a new chapter, eternal optimism, escape.” Like many other artists, he also tickles the love theme, in his usual lyrical wit, especially in the pop track ‘My kind of girl’. He resembles Ian Dury in style of satiric lyrics and quirky punk poetry.

Calling his album after one of his songs, ‘Broke’, shows the importance of the eight minutes long ballade which covers mental health issues, alcohol problems and the roughness created by not having any money. Not many people are present, but everyone feels the vibes and quietly sings along to the melodramatic life experiences.

“C’est la vie”, he sighed looking around the almost empty venue again. But he continued: “I’m playing in front of 10 people in Birmingham and it still means the world”. Laughing about it, he jokes about crowd surfing on the few people present and he tells everyone a story from when he tried crow surfing at Jamiroquai and people dropped him on his face. It is a real shame that not many people witnessed his performance, despite the crowds being larger earlier on in the night as is sometimes the case with out of town headliners with many of the fans being local bands following i.e friends, friends of friends and acquaintances easily make up some of the audience, Despite this he still engaged with the crowd that was present and with the interaction easily getting personal.

He finishes on a kooky rock ‘n’ roll note with ‘Sell Out’ which accentuates the effort people put into looking good in the modern materialistic world.

His lyrics highlight deep and common issues from the human psych and society covered in deprecating humour.
Scott Lavene will go on a solo tour in spring 2019/2020 and hopefully more people will enjoy his performances then.

Scott was supported by three bands from Birmingham.

The night starts with The Ra Project, an experimental rock mixed with spoken word band recently formed, who reminds of Jim Morrison and The Velvet Underground.

Next on stage is The VCR and the crowd is getting bigger and bigger. The quartet plays songs from their debut album, ‘Forever’ released earlier this year. Their indie rock style can be heard in the tunes ‘Because you’re not’, ‘Through your hands’, ‘Goodbye’ and, of course, ‘Forever’.

The NU came up next, bringing their spectrum of indie, alternative and synth-based pop, their sound situating somewhere between INXS and The Killers. After listening to their recordings later, I notice that there’s a heavier rock sound in the live setting, going well with their energetic head-banging performance. There is quite a big crowd singing along and dancing to the catchy tunes. Last but not least is ‘This Is Why We Do It’, which was nominated for “Best Song” at The Birmingham Music Awards 2019. Singer-songwriter Darius Zaltash asks everyone to help them with their memorable chorus — “E-e-e-e-e/ A-a-a-a-a” – which I’m sure got stuck in everyone’s head.

Review and Photos: Andra Tudoran


About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *