sat 22/06/2024

CVC, Concorde 2, Brighton review - they have the songs and they have the presence | reviews, news & interviews

CVC, Concorde 2, Brighton review - they have the songs and they have the presence

CVC, Concorde 2, Brighton review - they have the songs and they have the presence

Welsh sextet bring their lively Seventies-flavoured pop frollicking to the south coast

CVC, left-right, bassist Ben Thorne, guitarist David Bassey (seated), guitarist Elliot Bradfield, vocalist Francesco Orsi, keys-player Daniel Jones (seated), and drummer Tom Fry

The joy of CVC, when they catch fire, is the zing of gatecrashing a gang of cheeky, very individual personalities having their own private party. There’s a moment tonight, for instance, midway through the evening, when guitarists David Bassey and Elliot Bradfield, close in on each other, lock eyes, and spar clanging notes with spine-tingling precision. This band are tight, tight, tight.

Meanwhile frontman Francesco Orsi dances louchely as keys player Daniel Jones does a manic jig around him. They enliven the venue with a joyful, if practiced, energy.

CVC stands for Church Village Collective, nailing the origins of the six-piece to a homestead just south of Pontypridd. They first created waves a couple of years ago as a riveting live unit and have since fired out a debut album, Get Real, packed with contagiously tuneful harmonic pop that owes a huge debt to the L.A. 1970s of the Doobie Brothers et al. For CVC, punk did not happen!

They arrive on stage to Édith Piaf’s, “Non, je ne regrette rien” and burst straight into the bouncy double-header of "Silver Blues" and "Hail Mary". Bassey, a boisterous presence, has a red beret on his long hair, and wears a tie, while Orsi is clad, as often, in a leather box jacket, shirt buttoned to the top, his hands behind his back like Liam Gallagher.

The crowd are into it at once, a dancing, cheery audience of all ages and genders. This is blissful for those of us too used to zombified ranks of BBC 6Music dads and grandads, staring forward, stock-still. Bradfield plays a sax solo during the latter song and, in fact, CVC swap instruments with some aplomb, as well as vocals. Slugs of light zip up the walls around them. Bassey compliments the lighting engineer early on.

The hour-and-ten-minute set includes a couple of new numbers “possibly” on their forthcoming second album. They sound promising. One, Bassey tells us, is about things he saw that he “didn’t like” on his “way to work in Cardiff”. CVC have toured persistently and it shows, both in their super-slick musical chops, but also via band in-jokes, such as constantly referring to keys player Jones as Neil Young and to drummer Tom Fry as their “slide trombonist”. In fact, there’s a sense that tonight they’re at cruising speed rather than ramming speed, saving full welly for London the following night. Orsi even hints at this, asking if anyone will be there tomorrow, and suggesting they won’t.

While the sheer Seventies soft-pop of “Knock Knock” is too much for this gig-goer, the highlights are many. To name but four: the way “Winston” ramps up and up towards its end; the raucous zest of pre-encore closer “Docking the Pay”; the steroid-disco-tastic cover of Modjo’s deathless millennial chart-topper “Lady (Here Me Tonight)”; and the ballistic driving funk of “Mademoiselle”, showcasing bassist Ben Thorne's hypserspeed finger-work.

CVC have what it takes. They exude character and they have the songs. I wish they’d veer away from an ELO-Kaiser Chiefs-The Feeling axis towards a more muscular amalgam of, say, Scissor Sisters, Young Fathers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. They have those genes in them. They’d sky-rocket! Well, they would for me! Wherever they go next, they’re hugely likeable, never more so tonight than when they close with a rowdy one-song encore of The Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)”, fronted by a leaping Daniel Jones. It’s a final upswing. “Goodbye England, peace and love,” says Bassey, offering us a hippy V-sign. And the lights go up.

Below: Watch the video for "The Remortgage Anthem" by CVC

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