WPGM Reviews: The Vamps Live At Utilita Arena Birmingham

What a way for The Vamps to end their UK leg of their 10 year anniversary as a band than in Birmingham. With it being the hometown of singer Bradley Simpson and a city where bassist Connor Ball grew up, it was pretty much a hometown show to bring things to a close. Supporting The Vamps on tour this time round was singer Henry Moodie and the American indie band, The Aces.

Starting things off with a whole load of energy and evident excitement to perform in front of so many people, many being the first time they got to see him live was something that made Henry’s performance fun for the crowd. Performing tracks including “18” and an unreleased single called “Drunk Text”, about having a crush on someone and needing their attention, this was the reliability factor that he was able to deliver.

Thanking The Vamps for having him out on tour with them, this got the crowd excited once again. This continued throughout the set. Throwing in a cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space ” got the crowd singing along to every word at the top of their lungs. Henry’s true passion for music will get him far in the industry and is one to look out for in the future.

Up next were The Aces. They definitely left a lasting impression on the crowd especially with it being the last date of the tour. Making their way to the stage and captured in the spotlight, lead singer Cristal Ramirez addressed the Birmingham crowd with enthusiasm and excitement. And with that, The Aces were ready to give it their all with their captivating presence and infectious tracks.

Opening their set with “Girls Make Me Wanna Die”, they were able to show showmanship and passion for being up on stage. Tracks including “My Phone is Trying to Kill Me” and “Daydream” displayed even more of the band’s potential. The crowd reciprocates the energy for every song.

It was a very memorable set from The Aces and there is no doubt that this group of passionate, dedicated and talented women will continue to make a mark on the industry, while also delivering an electric performance on every stage they touch.

It was then time for a trip down memory lane with The Vamps. As the curtains dropped to reveal Connor, Brad, Tristan and James, the whole arena filled with cheers, screams and a round of applause. Smiles beamed across the faces all the members and it was from then that this was set to be a night to remember.

Their set began with “Last Night”, which was a great way to kick off the evening. With this being a greatest hits tour, the band were able to throw in a couple of older tracks including “Girls On TV” and “Can We Dance”, which went down a treat with the audience. It was heartwarming to see the band reminisce on the journey they have had so far and show appreciation to the fans, the very people that got them to that stage.

Crowd interaction is always a huge part of The Vamps’ show. Making their way down the runway, lead singer Brad and bassist Connor played seamlessly to the audience and gave so much energy in their performances that it was infectious throughout the entire arena. The band brought a sense of community that night, as they looked back on their earliest memories in the band, inside jokes and their friendship over the years.

Slowing things down with an acoustic version of “Middle Of The Night”, the entire arena was filled with lights which set a lovely atmosphere for the performance. The acoustic versions of some of the band’s much loved tracks gave the set even more of a sense of sincerity, and showed the versatility they possess as artists. Being able to mix things up a little just gave the crowd something a little special to celebrate the band’s achievements so far.

The visuals enhanced the set. With bright geometric shapes and television backgrounds, to bright colours projecting on every corner and screens on both sides of the arena playing videos of the band’s history, this allowed the audience to feel a part of the experience even more. Brad later promised the band’s return when the time came to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

Bringing the show to an end after a lengthy setlist, when the first note of “All Night” played, the crowd erupted into song and began singing every word with the band. It was like one big karaoke night that no one wanted to end. The whole night felt very nostalgic.

With the band’s discography of tracks ranging from their very first album, Meet The Vamps, to their latest release, Cherry Blossom, it was fitting for the show to end on a high note with just one fan favourite, “Somebody To You”. Every single person in that room went crazy, singing and screaming at the top of their lungs before it was time for The Vamps to say their goodbyes before leaving the stage.

Here’s to another ten years of The Vamps!

Words + photography by Sarah Akomanyi

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