O2 Academy, Glasgow **
The Vamps regularly emphasise the band half of the equation anyway, compensating for the lack of stagecraft here with a stripped-back drumkit and an array of acoustic instruments. But for the teenage audience waving homemade signs, it was all about the boys.
Image-wise, they’re a clean-cut, non-threatening proposition, issuing chaste invitations to “lay your hands on me” and “go back to my place”. Singer Brad Simpson is a slick but amiable operator with all the appropriate compliments, unfazed in the face of dutiful screams at his every utterance.
In the bearpit of teen pop, The Vamps appear to occupy the wafer-thin ground between the cheeky likes of forming touring partners McFly and the more conventional all-singing, sort-of-dancing One Direction. But they lack the charisma and chirpy songs of those veterans, offering instead the banal balladry of Paper Hearts or the funk-lite of Shades On.
Simpson encouraged audience participation on Sad Song, as a way of creating some investment in their new material, none of which broke the standard MOR pop mould. The only moment where they lived even remotely dangerously was with brief bursts of audience requests before running back for cover.