Joe bone and the dark vibes Members -
Joe Bone - Writer, Lead vocals
Martin McCann - Bass
Jenny Tingle - Drums
Sue Nicolson - Vocals
Allan French- Keys
Davy Irvin - Guitar
Stood in the infamous Ivory Blacks, a small, dark, bustling and well established venue nestled within the beating heart of Glasgows thriving music scene, renowned troupe Joe Bone and the Dark Vibes are due to perform and the sense of suspense is thick in the air. Looking around I recognise a few familiar faces from seeing these guys perform before and refreshingly some new ones too.There's a real appetite for the band here, perhaps because they wisely opt for quality of shows over quantity, meaning the hunger for another fix always lingers.
Joe Bone and the Dark Vibes have built an incredible reputation for being an act in Glasgow that never fail to disappoint and that everyone in and around "the music scene" wants to watch perform. From funky grooves and haunting jingles to gripping theatrics (which Joe has mastered the art of combining seamlessly into an authentic performance with an insane abundance of energy) that keep things contemporary meaning when you watch the second, third time around it's just as captivating as the first. There's always something new to catch you off guard. The bands relationship with the audience truly defies any seen before. When I briefly take my gaze away from the stage there's always a sea of folk dancing, enchanted by the beautifully and cleverly composed music and hard hitting lyrical content which artistically strikes the balance of dark humour and political issues that effect the everyday folk who struggle to get by each day.
After much anticipation the band christen the stage amidst gothic keys and synth keys which cultivates atmosphere of dramatic showmanship, im feeling like a wide eyed kid going to the circus for the first time. The first track is my absolute favourite track "Don't talk to me" a belter that holds its dawn in electro funk and steady underlying guitar work and gradually builds to a blinding beat of drums and cool 80s sounding bass. Joe gallantry commands attention "Don't talk to me if you want any dosh, I've been screwed by the system, I've been fuckin kosh" and the collaborative backing vocals shine through, harmonising perfectly.
Ska injected, "Glasgow Boys" is next up opening with a hip swaying reggae infused bass alongside some cool, easy going guitar solo work. "This is the story of the Glasgow Boys, all suited up and looking like heroes" it's the kind of track that trickles under your skin and gives a warm glow of happiness (yes, even in Glasgow). A complete contrast the the opening track demonstrates the diversity of this musical unit without feeling like it's out of place. McCanns bass playing style is malleable yet distinctive meaning the bass work flows freely between tracks, switching tempo depending of the track but ensures a flow of continuity at the same time.
Next up Tingle gets the rhythm warmer, playing snappy drums (decent serving of cowbell) alongside French tapping some psychedelic keys with super track " Mark of John". Irvin plays rockabilly guitar and front man Joe is glowing on stage. It was at this point I lost myself and pint in some enthusiastic attempt at dancing, glazing the floor with the frosty brew I not so artfully concealed under the already wet jacket in hand. Everyone around was buzzing on the atmosphere and plenty of photographers were taking the opportunity to snap the guys in their element.
The duo of lead and backing vocals in following track "The exorcist" looped in my head days after. Backing vocals can sometimes drown amongst all the other components in a live arrangement but Nicolson holds her own. Watching Tingle play it's impossible to tell where her limbs meet as she's such a loose, free flowing player, a real treat to see.
"Pale moon" begins with a creepy, Tim Burton sounding bass hook and Joe's tone is decidedly more romantic and soothing. Just before the minute mark the tempo picks up creating a flurry of jangley harmony.
"Britain ain't great" touches on the current political situations (or shitstorms, depending on your postcode I guess) most of us feel the brunt of. Glasgow is a city always receptive to calling out the arseholes in Westminster responsible for the poor treatment of the citizens of the U.K. Little wonder this tracks encourages so much jeers (and occasional unprintable comments) from the crowd. Gone is the softer tone and in rushes a performance of enigmatic energy lit by the anger of the suppressed. "You can hear the anger coming from the streets" Joe sings. An anthem for the insung, Joe Bone and the Dark Vibes use their platform not only to entertain but also recognise the voice of the all too many unheard. "DWP" follows similar suit.
"Voodoo blood" is a groovy number followed on by "Testament" a catch number with upbeat rhythm and experimental keys. The essence of the music is truly enraptured during the live performance. Whilst one can listen to the music alone, catching the opportunity to see the guys live and in colour adds a dimension that takes it to the next level. Each performer is well seasoned in ability yet as a formation they bounce wonderfully off one another, constantly communicating with a glance or nod. As a spectator I always note the relationship on stage as I think it makes for a proper show. Nothing's more disheartening than a group of talented musicians who let their arse fall through cause they have tunnel vision.
Cathedral sounding keys and muscular drums set up "The bible according" which is a punch, rock song. Loved the rough guitar work in this track!
Nearing the end of a braw night "Devil and the monkey" enthralls with jangley keys, stompy drums and a thick, flowing bass.
All too soon it's the end of the show with finale "Hush". The guys have put in a hell of a lot and I'm not sure how Joe maintains such a lengthy period of performing to the level he does. The evening has flown in and they have saved one last treat in terms of theatrics. I'm not going to spoil it for those of you still to see the guys (cause I know you are) but rest assured it's a site you will never forget!