Photos by Jacob Colman and Issy Villiers
Van Zeller haven’t been around very long, but it doesn’t feel like that when you step into the packed back room of the Crofters Rights. The place is full of people wearing their t-shirts, making the dark room so warm that the smell of actual sweat is, for once, greater than the smell of stale sweat that usually permeates the tiny, blacked out venue.
This is the Bristol band’s first headline show. Since forming exactly a year ago, Van Zeller have been slowly, but surely, infecting audiences with their catchy, energetic garage rock, playing with the likes of The Big Moon, Yak and Black Honey in the past year, but have somehow not played their own headline show.
The four-piece has definitely earned this honour though, and local post-punks LICE and garage rock band The Lizards from Birmingham provide two great support slots to build the excitement of the sold out crowd.
Van Zeller’s set wizzes by in a potent mix of beer, sweat, dancing and riffs. Song after song of hook laden shout along garage punk should-be-classics are reeled off by the band to the baying, singing, moshing crowd. Singles ‘She’s Moving Right’ and ‘Hold Me Back’ stick out as a familiar foothold, but to be honest, all the songs the band play are so catchy that by the end of the first chorus, it’s your new favourite.
By the end of the set, lead singer Ben is topless, bassist Nick is sat down on the floor in the front row of the crowd and the bassist from LICE (previously seen on the stage naked), is now playing harmonica.
It’s a chaotic and brilliant end to a well earnt headline show from a band that aren’t likely to stay in venues this small for much longer.