Vinnie & The Stars returned to the Duchess on Friday as part of a three date mini tour of Yorkshire. Having already entertained the masses in Hull, the night in York was set to be followed by a return to Howden, hometown of lead singer Craig ‘Vinnie’ Whitehead. Joining them at The Duchess was comedy soloist Bingers and one man band Ian Wilson.
By Graeme Smith
Photos by Andy Argyle
With an eager crowd arriving early to the venue, Bingers wasted no time in taking to the stage to open the evening, armed only with a ukulele, a loop pedal and his own voice to beat box. He set high expectations from the start with an interesting, lewd parody of OMI’s current summer hit Cheerleader.
Despite confessing he didn’t have enough songs to fill the set, Bingers performance continued for an hour, travelling through a very open and light-heartedly offensive autopsy of his mind. Diverse and fundamental themes of love, heartbreak, video games and sexually-transmitted diseases all featured in his self-deprecating performance. An exceptional cover of The Outhere Brothers’Boom Boom Boom rounded things off nicely.
A short tune up and then Ian Wilson was next. Another unusual act, Ian is a soloist who creates a whole band sound through playing samples and pedals along with his live guitar and vocals. Ian cites the likes of Foo Fighters and Biffy Clyro among his influences, but there is certainly a tinge of Manic Street Preachers about him too and at times his voice carried the slightest hint of Elvis Costello. Set highlight was Wash Away, a touching song about Alzheimer’s disease.
Audience sufficiently warmed-up, Vinnie & The Stars took to the stage. Vinnie started the set sat atop a bar stool, acoustic guitar in hand. It started quiet and relaxed (at least by their standards) for the first five songs, before a seamless change-over to electric during Are We In Control?
Last time Vinnie & The Stars were at The Duchess, they were launching their latest album Development. This was a more varied set, with plenty of favourites from their first two album as well. Unsurprisingly though, the biggest crowd reactions were for the anthemic I’m Not From America, I’m From Hull (delivered in a perfect Hull accent, of course) and their latest single, the incredibly catchy The Thrill Of It.
With so many styles on offer, it’s difficult to describe Vinnie & The Stars’ sound. A more upbeat Steve Earle, or Yorkshire’s answer to The Pogues doesn’t quite cover it. The overwhelming theme, though, is that of a good time, a party. In September they’ll be playing in York will be the Beer and Cider Festival at The Knavesmire so maybe the best way to describe them is as the perfect soundtrack for that.
Bingers, Ian Wilson and Vinnie & The Stars played at The Duchess on Friday 7 August 2015