14 March 2020
Vardis – 100 Club , London – Friday 13th March 2020.
100 MPH @100 Club
What a few days it has been , it seems the zombie apocalypse has arrived in the form of C-19 . Football games , Royal visits and International borders have been put into lock down. On the very same day of this gig the massive C2C , a 3 day sold out to capacity country music festival at London’s O2 arena was postponed and smaller touring musicians left their merch in boxes to hide the storm out but those titans of NWOBHM VARDIS calmly raised a single middle finger to the panic and carried on. Not a household name , but significant as they are influential ,Steve Zodiac (guitar/vocals) the leader of the Wakefield trio came to prominence with their debut album release, the fully live 100MPH 40 years ago . It came with the sticker “guaranteed no overdubs” emblazoned on the cover , a statement of intent as well as fact. Along with Blackfoots – Highway Song and Motörhead’s – No sleep , 100 MPH was my favourite live albums of the 80’s , and even now is a fabulous live recording . The success of this bold release and the bands electric live performances secured them an opening slot supporting Hawkwind & were first on the bill at the now legendary Port Vale FC Holocaust festival in August ‘81, with Motorhead headlining , Ozzy with Randy Rhodes slotted above Mahogany Rush, Triumph and Riot.
Fast forward 40 years & Vardis are still out and about now with Joe Claney (drums) & Roly Bailey (bass) joining Zodiac. The leaders long blonde hair and toned bare chest has gone , his bare feet now wearing blue doc Martins but that Fender still spits ferocity and if anything the guitar playing has improved & the voice has not faded . The angst , passion and undiluted effort has not diminished and tonight Vardis played that 40 year old record in its entirety interspersed with other tracks from across their catalogue raising saluting pint pots but more importantly smiles across the audience in appreciation . The crowd was strong , some may have been deterred by the hysteria of Corona but that extra space allowed the old ones to dance at the back. In a interview prior to the show Steve Zodiac explained how the player and the audience become one in a live environment & this was very much evident tonight when by the magic of live music this small group of people in Oxford Street were transported back to 1979 and the height of NWOBHM. It was a triumph , a sweaty and loud one , but a triumph nonetheless.
Vardis are a small cog in the history of rock and metal , but do not confuse size with importance for these Yorkshire lads are the real deal. If there are any young people reading this who do not know the legacy of this band check out any of the bands 5 LP’s ranging from 1980 to 2016 & even more importantly go to see them live and then you will see why Lars Ulrich took up music .
Friday 13th may be unlucky for some , but those souls in the basement venue on Oxford Street were blessed to see this wonderful beast live which was recorded and filmed for prosperity and maybe even a new live album . Don’t mess with the best because the best don’t mess .
Vardis vs the Virus … Vardis were victorious .
Check out the link for an interview with the band before the gig at The 100 Club. below
Reviewer / Interviewer/ Photos (IPhone) – Skid
MMH Radio DJ
House of Loud – Sunday 1200-1400 GMT