My Vitriol – Liverpool University, 04/04/2001
We really need a band like this. But My Vitriol just are not that band. Despite tonight – supporting the increasingly boring Feeder – where the vitriol seems tighter and the anger seems grittier than it has ever been, there is still something naggingly wrong about this band. Perhaps they are just not as original as we had hoped, not quite as ground-breakingly, back-achingly exciting as this sub-genre of indie-rock is really crying out for. Look at their woeful competitors and proclaim with me, ‘alt.rock is dead’. King Adora are so jaw-droppingly stupid they could never be taken seriously, let alone be taken for the Manics; Crashland are a surly bunch of punk-pop arse with no tunes; and Terris fail because Gavin Godwin has a voice akin to an asthmatic toad. In this light, My Vitriol look like a life-saving, genre-defining band. Which, of course, they’re not.
What they are tonight is a band that inspires energy - although themselves being as static as a permanent mobile home park. They roll out great songs like ‘Cemented Shoes’ and ‘Always: Your Way’, all barbed vocals and cut-throat guitars, but then proceed to play the more insipidly graceless songs from debut album ‘Fine Lines’. Som’s pretty boy looks are yet again adorned with a mask of contempt for his fans - rock-n-roll and all, but it surely puts down the people who really got him here tonight. It is again in the instrumental pieces that the Vitriol really fare the best, creating an intensity of emotion, of brooding, malevolent anger that is all their own. This is what we always expected from them – something new – and, yet again, there are only flashes of that here tonight.
Its getting tiring telling you all how much potential this band have got when they keep failing to deliver the whole package. They are always getting better, and tonight they were almost electric. But they already have moulds to break, formulas to usurp and critics that will take no small effort to persuade. The discouraging thing is that it doesn’t look like they realise it yet – they seem to think they have a god given right to superstardom. Which, of course, they don’t. We want grace, we want vitriol, or we want nothing at all.