Bob Vylan at SWX

Posted on: 2023-11-21

Our rating:

The best act I've seen live in some time.

Tuesday night saw the highly anticipated return of London duo Bob Vylan to Bristol, performing in front of an absolutely packed crowd at SWX.

Formed in 2017 Bob Vylan offer up a quite difficult to quantify musical style. Sitting somewhere inbetween grime and punk, heavily influenced by hip hop, rock and rap. It is high energy, high paced, angry and raw. Their lyrics heavily feature serious subject matter including politics, police brutality, violence and race. It is very genuine and very real.

The scene was set, the crowd were ready, as the pair emerged from behind the curtain in matching Fred Perry tracksuits and initially invited the crowd to join in with what they described as some 'guided meditation and light stretching'. This involved Bobby stretching and getting himself in the zone over a brief interlude of heavy guitar riffs and high paced drumming which hyped up the already eager crowd. It was very much setting the tone of things to come.

They opened the show properly with 'I Heard You Want Your Country Back', and the energy was electric. Bobby strutted back and forth delivering his lyrics with intent. He had real stage presence from the get go and had the crowd hanging on every word from the outset.

He ended the opening few tracks with a stage dive and crowd surf. Whilst not in itself unusual, it seemed early in the set for it, but it just illustrated how clearly up for it the crowd were.



The stage was quite bare, a drum kit and two red flight cases with 'Bob Vylan' printed on. He tells the crowd the first person to break though security, make it onto the stage and touch the flight case will get a free signed bit of merchandise at the end of the show, and it didn’t take long for someone to oblige. There is one word for the atmosphere: rowdy.

They rattled through the set list performing everything the crowd wanted to hear: 'Northen Line', 'Pulled Pork', 'GDP' and 'We Live Here'. Commanding the crowd, at one point wielding a cricket bat, as he strutted back and forth, they were loving every minute of it.

All in all, the show was absolutely incredible, the best act I've seen live in some time. Whilst the subject matter of many of the tunes and abrasive nature of the delivery may not be to everyone's tastes, if it is to yours, then I'd suggest catching Bob Vylan at the next opportunity you can; and with a new album due early next year It shouldn't be too long before you get the chance to again.

Article by:

Tom Keane

Cuts hair at Shotgun Barbers on Cotham Hill, drinks coffee, listens to music and goes to gigs.