A gentle breeze softly caresses the dawning of a new spring day. The birds chirp merrily in the tranquil meadow, without a hint or warning of the onslaught to come. Suddenly, the skies darken and a hurricane rips the beautiful scene apart; the perfect parallel to the live performance of the Massachusetts born, hardcore explosion of talent that is Vanna.
Vanna came crashing into Harper’s Ferry, destroying every eardrum within reach, and inciting bloodthirsty fans to mangle their bodies in the inevitable pit. As they had already completed most of their tour, this band had become seasoned live performers, very much in control of what they were doing. Once the amps were fired up, they launched into the set. Front man Chris Preece delivered monster vocals, living up to everything on the studio album. The band’s stage presence matched the aggression of their fans. They were head banging right along with the crowd that had packed itself at the foot of the stage, and rocking out – violently swinging their instruments around, and even spraying the audience with beer. The boys looked comfortable onstage in their hometown, obviously enjoying every minute of their performance.
Total musical chaos and abuse seemed to reign on stage at first glance – the group’s guitar straps were even duct taped onto their guitars – yet this was contrasted by the overall tightness of the band. The tone and blend of the show were rough around the edges, depending on where the listener was in relation to the stage, but that was to be expected from the small bar and served well to cover up any performance mistakes.
The demographic was unique and pleasantly surprising, as it included a plethora of college-age females. This could be attributed to the bill for the evening, which contained mostly pop-dance bands. Although Vanna were quite different from the rest, they were still very well received and connected with the crowd, who shouted along with the songs. The band brought the power of the tracks on their most recent album, Curses, to life, pouring their hearts into their rather short performance. They demonstrated a mastery of breakdowns in their songwriting – and their live replication of the heaviest parts were spot-on and brutal enough to give you chills. Vanna maintained an exceptionally high level of energy throughout their set from the first chord to the last scream.
Offstage, the members of Vanna are very laidback and friendly, as if they pent up all of their anger and aggression and released it during their performance. Guitarists Nick and Evan were happy to talk and share stories of their tour as well as answer guitar-specific questions about tunings, strings, etc. – which made for a very satisfying experience. Coming from a band that was as heavy as Vanna, it was good to see the band as a group of humble and outgoing boys.
For the heavier side of music, Vanna is definitely a band to keep your eye on. The screaming from the vocalist, Chris, is unique and distinguishable in this genre. The riffs are catchy, and their breakdowns are very tasteful. They are in the process of recording their new album – which after hearing a live performance of their new single, should turn out just as, if not more impressive than Curses. They plan on touring behind their forthcoming new album as well, so keep up with their dates and head to a show nearest you.