Vitus Dance in session for John Peel tonight. A band virtually unknown on this side of the Atlantic, who were frustratingly short-lived – were managed by the same firm who also managed XTC and who, from all accounts, disintegrated shortly after this session, their first and only at BBC Radio 1.
Maybe they sounded just a little too close to the mould of XTC to be considered different enough to make it on their own – maybe it was an oil-and-water combination of talent in the band, maybe they just had bad luck. Whatever it was, as far as I can make out, they were around a little over a year before splitting up and with lead guitarist Kevin McFadden forming Misdemeanor and grabbing several singles and making more of a dent in the Bristol Music scene at the time.
But Vitus Dance, as you will quickly notice with this session, weren’t half-bad – clearly, Ian Reed and Dennis Detheridge who also managed the fortunes of XTC also managed Vitus Dance and they saw something a lot of people didn’t.
But it’s further evidence that, even with talent, a high-placing management firm behind you, you can still make virtually no dent. It’s certainly curious, how a band with all the earmarks and calling-cards could develop nothing in their home country, let along the U.S. – but those are the facts.
Still, a very listenable set and one that leaves a bit of head-scratching to go along with it. I confess to not being familiar with the band at the time, and so this time it’s new territory for me. And if you’re a fan of XTC, you will no doubt hear a lot of familiar riffs and vocal style.
In any case, crank it up and have a listen.