163 Views

VANT: No frills rock ‘n’ roll at its finest

The Haunt is a sticky place to say the least, and then Vant initiate their first of 16 unrelenting songs, ‘The Answer’ – a scrappy, post-Strokes track that has enough groove to get everyone moving early. The heat turns up. The Pits appear.

Arriving late at a Vant gig you could easily mistake it for a mass post-GCSE brawl (perhaps why Reading Festival was their biggest gig yet). Vant, a four piece who have been together for almost 3 years, are The Haunt’s latest indie offering: a collection of denim jackets, messy hair and 90s guitars.

Earlier that day, before the sweat and the riffs, I sit down with Mattie Vant, their surly Sunderland frontman and meet the rest of the band. They are approachable, nice guys – we find a room upstairs and Mattie and I sit down to talk. Immediately it’s clear to me I won’t need to work hard to get him to talk. He is naturally talkative, but not in a narcissistic, or self-indulgent sense. He is clearly passionate, but understatedly so.

Before long he delves in to political themes and ideas without me needing to prompt him. He talks at length about how “What used to be the conservative side of the government is now talking a liberal approach. If you look at things like Donald Trump and Brexit, it’s a vote against the establishment, where before the right was keeping control of the establishment and the left working against it”.

For all their thrashing punk on stage, in person he possesses a far calmer view on the world he writes about. Politics and social issues are important to him and his music, and he won’t let you forget it.

You can tell they get on well as a group, as he tells me they came together through “many drunken encounters”, as often the best friendships start. They work and write together naturally as mates and it is clear when I’m talking to him – “there was no pressure then, we all had jobs…it worked so easily and so naturally that it just progressed”.

Their supposed lack of pressure is an intriguing one, something he goes back on somewhat, later saying “There’s always pressure, no matter what stage you’re at – it’s all relative”, but if they are feeling it, it doesn’t show.

Brandishing their own version of, what Mattie self-diagnoses as, “Mature-punk”, they play with freedom and intent – “It’s all about escapism and having fun live, but there’s no reason why it can’t also mean something”. Even if his social criticism can erratically flutter between the 1975’s Matty Healy and the misfiring of Sundara Karma’s Oscar Lulu, it is refreshing to find a piece in the indie landfill that tries to be better than that. The right aim but sometimes they fire blanks.

Perhaps what Vant do best is their no-frills, no-pyro, no-backing-track approach to the show – the band play instinctively and spontaneously together, with a freedom that, hopefully, success wont infect. In an age where record sales don’t cut it financially, there is more pressure on bands to tour and to tour hard – they’ll have no trouble with this.

The closest Mattie gets to gushing is when he tells me, “We’re doing something that a million other people want to do, yeah you do get tired and a bit wound up by stupid things but we’re good enough mates to get through it”. Not only is their live show energetic and passionate to the last, but they clearly love what they do.

Even if it may feel monotonous, they find a way to keep it fresh. Beginning the set standing square to the mic stand with a smart coat on, Mattie finds himself in the middle of his own mosh pit for their last song, “Do You Know Me?”, a rousing, crashing piece of garage rock.

For all the talk and the intention, this feels like Vant getting down to business. “It’s all about being in the real world” Mattie tells me, “We love recording and writing, and playing live is the reward at the end of that”. Whatever we try to say about this band, they can work up a crowd and they can give a good show.

In such a saturated market, how does a British indie rock band set themselves apart? This musical landscape is painfully, impossibly busy. It is crowded and it is repetitive, and begs for something original or something meaningful to scream from the back of the room.

Vant find themselves caught between two great ideas: a great live show and a future of social purpose, and the middle ground does exist, they just need to find it.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
721 views1
Campus News
721 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
165 views
Arts
165 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
184 views
Arts
184 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
179 views
Arts
179 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
221 views
Arts
221 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
223 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
218 views
Arts
218 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
209 views
Arts
209 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
332 views
Campus News
332 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
170 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
462 views
Arts
462 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
208 views
Arts
208 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
309 views
Artist Focus
309 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
215 views
Interview
215 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
293 views
Arts
293 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
332 views
Arts
332 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
370 views
Arts
370 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
269 views
Artist Focus
269 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
281 views
Books
281 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
367 views
Science
367 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
338 views
News
338 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…