ABC, Glasgow, Fri 12 Dec
‘No-one would be listening to us now if Nirvana hadn’t covered our songs,’ says The Vaselines’ Eugene Kelly with disarming honesty. ‘We’d just be another band who released an album, broke up and then disappeared. But the Nirvana connection meant that Sub Pop put our music out in America, and that generated an audience for us throughout the world.’
That’s why the Glaswegian indie-pop duo, Kelly and Frances McKee, can find this year’s reformation gigs eagerly anticipated by so many a whole 18 years after they split. Since then Kelly has fronted Captain America, later known as Eugenius after Marvel Comics disapproved, while McKee has released records as Suckle, is raising a family and also works full-time as a teacher. Both have recorded solo albums, although Kelly again notes self-deprecatingly that neither have set the world alight.
Yet, earlier this year, one low-key semi-acoustic set in 2006 notwithstanding, the pair played a full electric set in Mono at a charity gig organised by McKee’s sister. At the time they didn’t expect it to lead anywhere, but an unexpected visit from McKee’s in-laws allowed her to leave her children just long enough to play Sub Pop’s 20th anniversary in Seattle and a couple of dates in New York. Now – backed by Belle and Sebastian’s Stevie Jackson and Bob Kildea, and 1990s’ Michael McGaughrin – the pair are actively seeking gig and festival dates next year, and are even intent on writing new material together. ‘We kind of have to,’ laughs Kelly, ‘because the entire Vaselines back catalogue is about 54 minutes’ worth in total’.