Beat Magazine .. melbourne 2006

Australia has a habit of producing fantastic local bands, and then neglecting them. This was the case of The Vagrants. Thankfully their name is true to their nature or we wouldn’t have the raw, warts and all power of their independent self titled first recording. Perhaps thanks to these nomadic tendencies The Vagrants are a unique sound in today’s aural landscape of local bands. Their choice of instruments gives them a point of difference to most bands, including the occasional saxophone, flute or harp. By far the greatest twist at their disposal has to be Renate Ludwig. In the tradition of Fiona Apple, Alanis, and Susie Di Marchi, the power of the vocal resonating out the littlest person in the room is unfathomable.

It was cold, it was wet, and it was St Kilda. Basically, the perfect setting for getting down and dirty with one of the greatest experiences that happens to haunt ol Melbourne town. Indeed, late afternoon on the day that Eurovision would later be taken out by a bunch of Nordic wankers who’d broken into Gwar’s trailed backstage at a gig in Helsinki years back, there were people out to see the jazz tinged blues rock of The Vagrants in the superbly decadent front bar of The Greyhound.

Renate (the singer) prowled, scowled the way into the grizzled punters hears, as formerly hirsute guitarist Steve Iorio tore the Greyhound apart like the re-incarnation of boogie Jesus, but way better at the blues.

The beers went down, the tunes went down, and the punters got down. They dropped the rockabilly jazz rock explosion of “That’s what life is like”, the groove ridden highway RAWK of “Accelerated Kharma”, and disgustingly funky folk blues rendition of “Wrong side of the Tracks”

They boogied their way into “Let’s Party” and subsequently, the party continued. The overlap of white boy funk meets restrained and upbeat rootsy bluesy folk meant that no matter who was there, be they old, you, young, sexy or homely, it was a joyous crowd. You’d actually be hard pushed to find a crowd as happy and as buoyant down in St Kilda on a cold wet Sunday Afternoon.

But then, that’s the nature of The Vagrants. Their groove gets under your skin; the riffs make your toes go at angles away from your knees. It’s like getting pissed on the mandibles of funk and expounding all that’s fun in life. Melbourne should be proud.

Jaimz Clements – Beat Magazine Dec 2006

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