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Review: Bob Vylan @ SWX

A raucous night of politically charged chaos at SWX, soundtracked by the unique cross-genre style of rising duo Bob Vylan

By Zed Law, First Year English

Bob Vylan are a band making history. As they proclaim at every gig, they are the first artist to release an entirely self made album and have it reach the UK top 20. Compromised of Bobby and Bobbie, they are pioneering the new wave of punk grime, with a blend of infectious rage and thought provoking lyrics best experienced live.

Fresh off the back of winning a MOBO award for Best Alternative Act, they embarked on their latest tour preceding their upcoming album ‘Humble as the Sun’. The performance opens with a thudding heartbeat before a looped, echoing shout of “What is going on?!” from their MC. In unusual style, they open each gig with Bobby led meditation accompanied by frenetic red lights and steadily increasing drums, setting the tone for the subsequent set.

When the music finally arrives, the crowd are rabid. Flying straight into ‘I Heard You Want Your Country Back’ Bobby sets the tone for the evening by diving straight into the crowd, offering the mic up to fans. From then on it is one punk grime track, after another, with unseen guitar samples meshing with Bobbie’s enthused drum work. They pause between songs to take aim at everyone from the King to Elvis Presley, garnering a particularly enthusiastic crowd response to their brutal policing criticism before diving into the intense ‘Pulled Pork’.

Bob Vylan @ SWX | Benji Chapman

A particular stand out is their latest single ‘He’s a Man’, a tongue in cheek critique of the toxic masculine culture “you little boys just really wouldn’t understand”. Before performing this, Bobby asks the men to retreat from the mosh pit, providing a centre space for everyone else with “less chance of getting crushed”. ‘CSGB’ is another stand out performance, with Bobby swinging a cricket bat in time with his lines.

Responding to the request to make the security guards earn their money, waves of crowd surfers punctuate the night, attempting to claim the bands offer of free merch for the first person to reach ‘home base’ (their drum set). Closing the night out with ‘Wicked and Bad’, Bobby returned to the crowd to bring an energetic and impactful gig full circle.

Bob Vylan @ SWX | Benji Chapman

Bob Vylan will return to Bristol on 10th April at Rough Trade to celebrate their new album release.

Featured Image: Benji Chapman

Will you see Bob Vylan at Rough Trade in April?