VINDICATOR SMOOTH
Excelsior Hotel, Surry Hills
October 29, 2006

Words: MADAME TANGERINE
Photos: BEN SISTO

The current line-up built around Mark Sisto (vocals) and Andy Newman (bass) - co-founders of the band - now includes Ged Corben ( guitar ), John Schofield (guitar and keyboards), Dave Alexander (drums), growing particpation on vocals from Madeleine Chase and Jack Stewart Shanley guesting on sax. Collectively they've been in more bands over the years than anyone can remember and it shows.

Earlier in the evening Chase herself had delivered a characteristically strong set and her stage presence together with beautiful song list was more than well received. With any luck, Chase will continue to feature
at Vindicator Smooth gigs.

This gig was the second for this line-up and on the strength of their first outing there was standing room only which was all the more impressive given the early Sunday evening timeslot. Whatever they do at practice works: they were paradoxically musically tighter but physically more relaxed this time round. Dave Alexander was hitting the drums a little bit harder and was that perfect split moment just out the front where this writer likes all drummers to be.

The set included a couple of new songs ("Flat Land Cracking" and "Under the Flying Question Mark!"), the usual great covers we've come to expect (is that demand?) such as "The Man Comes Around", "Chestnut Mare" and "Poor Side of Town". plus a few Manifestations songs - one of which was the stand-out on the night, "Eyes Freeze Time".

The new arrangement of "Eyes Freeze Time" gave a hint of what is to come from this band and in particular demonstrated just why Ged Corben is one of those guitarists of whom you can never have too much. (Anyone who saw the Lime Spiders gig at Annandale earlier in the year will need no convincing of this, on that night Corben quite plainly, but absolutely unintentionally, stole the show).

But I digress, the night was about Vindicator Smooth as a band, and that is really the point -each member of the band is individually strong, the song lists so good and the energy between them so positive (particularly Schofield and Sisto) that together they are now so much more than the sum of their parts.

Special mention has to go to Chase - the duet with Sisto, on "Hickory Wind" and "You Let a Love Burn Out", is on its own something worth coming out to hear.

So there we have it - the perfect line-up on an upward trajectory with summer on its way, and a whisper that there just may be a recording before Christmas.

 

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