Vukovi – The Key Club, Leeds (11th March 2017)

Much like a fine Scottish whisky, in the respect it takes years to reach delicious perfection, zany pop rock band Vukovi have been meticulously working away at their debut album for the past seven years. And with their self titled masterpiece finally in our hands, the subsequent tour was definitely a giant celebration. After a sold out show to a home crowd in Glasgow, it appeared down at The Key Club, Leeds had a lot to live up to. This challenge was not only accepted, but smashed right out of the park. 

Joining the Scottish quartet for the festivities were local talent Vexxes, who offered a heavy and ballsy introduction, with their fabulously technical riffs. Following these pop rockers were the whimsically delectable CRITICS, mashing together quirky lyrics and imaginative, indie/synth pop tunes to create the most wonderful, futuristic music milkshake.  

As Vukovi giddily clambered on stage, the lights glowed upon vocalist Janine Shilstone’s glittery face and shockingly blue, cascading waterfall plaits. It was clear, these people meant business, specifically if they ran ‘The Fireworks, Candy and Puppy Dog Store’ from The Simpsons. With a more bubbly set than a bouncy ball in a room full of trampolines, Vukovi plowed through their self titled album in its entirety with an insane amount of energy, lighting up the room with singles La Di Da and Weirdo. 

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Throughout the set, Shilstone took the phrase “sharing is caring” to a whole new level, as she borrowed the outstretched phones of fans to create an equally special memento for each individual as they filmed this fantastic event.  

Reaching Vukovi classics Bouncy Castle and So Long Gone, it is clear that this is a well rehearsed setlist and at this point, the whole band seem comfortably at ease in the spotlight. Shilstone‘s carefree dancing is reminiscent of one of the best nights out you’ve ever been on, where you’re too inebriated to care and are living wholeheartedly in the moment of happiness. Which is ironic considering the subject matter of their album spans across a multitude of difficult subjects including bullying, depression and relationship abuse.  

The musical erraticism seen in And He Lost His Mind seem cathartic in a way, as Vukovi spun webs of positivity and fearlessness into the hearts of their fans. Showing the world that it may be dark at times, but put a catchy tune to it and you can conquer any demons. And this shining, almost blinding optimism exudes from every eccentric riff they blast and every perfect note they sing. 

Even slower tracks Wander and Colour Me In held a special moment in the evening, where phone lights were requested for the latter, creating another level of dazzle to an already magical show. The overwhelmingly positive response was clear to see. As the set drew to a close, Vukovi visited veteran tracks Target Practice, Animal and Boy George, much to the delight of the tightly packed room. And while this whole process may have been a long time coming for Vukovi, in our eyes, they could take a millennium if it meant they produced shows of this magnitude.

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