Vant at The Duchess

London-based upstarts Vant popped into The Duchess on their current UK tour on Friday. The four-piece fronted by the eponymous Mattie Vant have been making waves across the UK alternative music scene, picking up DJs on Radio 6 Music and Radio 1’s Zane Lowe as they go. Joining them for their York date were local acts …And the Hangnails and The Goodnight Ladies.

By Graeme Smith
Photos by Graeme Smith


The Goodnight Ladies are a recently formed three-piece consisting of two former members of The Valmores. It was hard to believe that this was one of their first handful of gigs, as the lads charged their way through a confident and accomplished set. From front-man Nathan’s skinny tie and suit to their grungy, criminal rock and roll, these guys wouldn’t be out of place in the background of a torture scene in a Tarrantino film. The fact that their final track was entitled Tarratino showed that was exactly what they were going for.

Second on were …And the Hangnails, a name many in the York music scene has grown familiar with over the past few years. A dynamic duo, they set out to make more noise than some four-piece bands, invoking the likes of Led Zeppelin or No Age.

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The Goodnight Ladies

Their song You & I was played on Radio 1 last week by Huw Stephens and it was clear to see why with a big sound and an Animal Collective-esque edge. They closed their set with And The Trouble You Start, a rare quiet moment that lulled the audience into a false sense of security before blasting them away with a fast, aggressive finish.

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…And the Hangnails

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Then Vant took to the stage, having just come over from Ireland. Starting the set with their backs to the audience, they slowly built up the noise of layered strings played without remorse. Vant’s sound sits somewhere between grunge and punk, part of a growing scene of late that rejects the clean edges of pop rock and over production. The ensuing sound is complemented by an anti-establishment attitude of saying it like it is. This was best exemplified on the night by Birth Certificate, a no holds barred account of the real people impact of current immigration laws.

The night was one where you’re left feeling that you’ve witnessed something special, real musicians playing music that cannot fail to be noticed.


The Goodnight Ladies, …And the Hangnails and Vant played at The Duchess on Friday 30 October 2015