Gig review

The Vivians

At this time of year the spirit-warming aroma of roasted chestnuts tends to fill the chilly winter air. But, with just four sleeps left to Christmas, there’s an unfamiliar whiff of hairspray and sweat drifting through the streets of Newington. Because, tonight, the normally reserved Southern bar is jam-packed with trendy hepcats, all here for a seasonal celebration hosted by new-wave fashionistas The Vivians.

With their prominent bone structures and meticulously crafted shocks of hair, it’s easy to see why this Edinburgh quartet has built up such a devoted following since arriving on the scene in August. But are the apathetic pouts and pristine neckerchiefs just a case of style over substance or do The Vivians really have the tunes to back up their uber-styled posturing?

Staunchly determined to rid any doubts in their musical proficiency, the band swagger onto stage and blast straight into the frantic neo-punk of Kill The Groove. Sounding like the amphetamine fuelled love child of The Vibrators and The Cramps, it’s a glamorously trashy beginning to a tight, sexed-up set that has the venue gyrating the crotch of its skinny-fit jeans.

Spurred on by Damon DeVille’s flamboyant showmanship, the group surge through vitriolic stomps like Pretty In Magazine and Dodging Hot Bullets as if possessed by the spirit of 1977. And with the crowd hurling itself wholeheartedly into the night’s boisterous atmospherics this really could be that bygone era of safety pins and social disobedience.

During the frenzied chaos of Divided We Stand a staggering revelation occurs ‘` it seems the doe-eyed Edinburgh masses have finally found themselves a messiah they can believe in. And as the sleazy, twisted discord of Dr. Doctor Dr. Doctor’s gob-inducing riff crashes to the ground one final time, The Vivians leave their lustful disciples in no doubt that it’s better to receive than to give this Christmas.

Billy Hamilton