Vistas @ O2 Ritz live review – ‘All we are’ proves more than enough

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In the wake of Vistas third studio album, Is This All We Are?, the Scottish indie-rockers are in Manchester for the final stretch of their celebratory UK tour before traversing Europe.

Support comes from rising West Midlands prospects, Overpass, a band causing a seismic stir among their local scene. In the space of 18 months, they have upgraded from back street Birmingham pubs to supporting the likes of Two Door Cinema Club and The Wombats. In a breakneck set jammed with music from their forthcoming EP, Overpass present an infectious bundle of guitar laden tracks, akin to cult heroes Catfish And The Bottlemen. A tough support act to follow, Overpass rolled out the red carpet for the headliners to take centre stage. 

The pre-show playlist of ABBA’s greatest hits puts the crowd in a jubilant mood, with Vistas receiving a rapturous reception on their arrival. The Scots delve straight into their new album for opener, ‘Cruel Hearts’. Despite only being released a few weeks ago, the audience receive the fledgling hit with absolute adoration. The ensuing ‘Tigerblood’, comes from the band’s debut record. Before the first chorus lands, the air fills with waving arms grasping desperately for the ceiling.

Standing before a bustling barricade, Vistas frontman Prentice Robertson steadies himself, taking a moment to admire the decadent interior of The Ritz. The quartet, dressed dashingly in black short-sleeve shirts, produce dark silhouettes against a frenzied backdrop of colourful flashing lights. Meanwhile, guitarist Dylan Rush takes tentative steps to avoid colliding with the stage decorations, which include bioluminescent cuboids that would be at home in an 8-bit video game.

“Let’s keep this going!” Robertson implores as he gears himself up for ‘I Know I Know’. His invitation proves to be surplus to requirements. The crowd jumps the gun, chanting along to the pre-chorus refrain before the song can spread its wings. The following three minutes is a euphoric exchange between the stage and the pit, vocal duties generously offered to the front row fans. 

The band continues to share a plethora of rarities alongside their hits, notably the title track of this year’s ‘The Beautiful Nothing’ EP. Towards the backend of the set, Vistas revert to content from their first two albums, rattling through setlist mainstays ‘15 Years’ and ‘Calm’, much to everyone’s delight. The melodic guitar riff repeated throughout the latter brings a slice of summer to a dreary, wintery evening. 

The four-piece play ‘Retrospect’ for their curtain call, a jubilant number gushing with sentiment. “Look out for each other,” Robertson says at the song’s climax, before asking the Ritz to “lend us your voices one more time.” The crowd duly obliges. 

The very best of the bunch from an oversubscribed genre, Vistas are flying the flag high for indie-rock. As posed by the title of their current album, if this truly is all they are, then Vistas are more than enough.

About the author / 

George Wainwright

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