Vienna Ditto never disappoints. Their Friday night set in Oxford was tighter than ever, with Nigel at maximum manic, Tigger-bouncing across the stage while Hatty enchanted us all with her unparalleled vocals.
But let’s rewind a little. Before the hotly-anticipated headliners, we had a long line of support acts to encounter. The Easter Island Statues were actually pretty promising. They opened with a fast, Franz Ferdinand style number with Donald Campbell’s megaphone vocals surprisingly akin to Alex Kapraonos. Admittedly the drummer could have done with hitting his skins a little less enthusiastically and a few songs hit a bit of a lull mid set, but there was definitely an exciting sense of chemistry about this band.
Next were Go On Do It Jump, going back a few extra years for their inspiration and taking me back to my teenage years listening to Blink 182 and Sum 41. Sadly they didn’t do much more than that for me and the rather bland set was only really punctuated by some rather questionable notes hit by the lead singer.
Finally, it was time for Vienna Ditto to hit the stage with their trademark ‘voodoo sci-fi blues’. I fell in love with this band over two years ago and they have just become more exciting, more experimental and more exceptional every time I’ve seen them since. Full of twists and turns, Vienna Ditto’s sound is a pitch-perfect mixture of thumping, reverberating electronic pulse, retro rock-and-roll guitar experimentation and steely, pained blues. Think of a 21st century reinterpretation of Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’, then take it to outer space and back and you might be getting close to Vienna Ditto. The set included favourites like ‘Liar, Liar’ and ‘I Know His Blood’, with a few extra flourishes and added depth compared to their original release, as well as new tracks from their latest album Circle. Everyone was moving, jumping, cheering and slinking along to every number from this talented pair.
‘Kill or the cure to this 21st century blues…I’m feeling strained and smoking, chained and choking, finger-licking, pistol-whipping good.’