Turning Camdenese

Until recently I worked alongside David Fenton at the MU, as he handled numerous legal cases for musicians across the UK in his role as in-house solicitor.

He joined the MU full-time in 2000, but has now taken the life-changing step of reforming his hit band, The Vapors, famous for their early 1980s chart smash: Turning Japanese. After a couple of low-key warm-up gigs, the four-piece were to be found at Dingwalls tonight in the company of Dept S.

An enthusiastic gang made up of friends of the band had gathered beforehand in the Hawley Arms and we arrived just in time to catch Dept S, who delivered a high-energy set including their cult classic ‘Is Vic there?’

I then hooked up with photographer Richard Ecclestone who had been lined up to capture the band in action and he dealt admirably with the heaving masses down the front and the steamy environment!

The Vapors were greeted like returning heroes and immediately kicked off a collection of late 1970s, guitar-led slabs of post-punk pop.  Standing out for me were Live at the Marquee, Spring Collection, Jimmie Jones, their first single Prisoners, and – of course – Turning Japanese. They closed a lengthy set with storming encores of Waiting for the Weekend and Here comes the Judge.

At this point I ran into Songlink’s David Stark at the bar and he kindly introduced me to legendary producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven and his charming wife. We repaired to the after-show bar upstairs and had a drink before saying goodbye to Dingwalls and a memorable night.

For those who would like to catch the reformed band and missed this gig, The Vapors are scheduled to play London’s 100 Club next April.


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