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Saturday, March 15 • 12:00am - 12:30am
The Vines

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The Vines Let’s go back to the summer of 2002. The Vines debut album ‘Highly Evolved’ had been released and struck a massive chord with the UK & US. The Australian band were on fire, gracing magazine cover after cover, earning plaudit after plaudit, playing blistering shows and selling 1.5 million records worldwide. They were everywhere. However, within a year, the toll of relentless touring and exposure was creating a new set of headlines. The Vines singer & songwriter Craig Nicholls was having immense difficulties, his behaviour becoming more and more erratic. Performances would veer between electrifying and total chaos, the press were turning and we hadn’t even come to album two. When ‘Winning Days’ was released in March ’04, Nicholls was looking like a very sick person, gone was the boyish looks and charm that had graced the covers of NME and Rolling Stone, now in its place was someone struggling to keep hold of his own sanity and fragile existence. The reception afforded ‘Winning Days’ by the media was harsh. Irritated by Nicholls’ behaviour, the record and band were granted a kicking week after week. Yet ‘Winning Days’ remains such an underrated record, it was just the animosity levels towards the band had reached fever pitch and Nicholls was becoming even more detached from reality. A much publicised cover story in Kerrang with the headline “What The Hell Is Craig Nicholls’ Problem?’ detailed and captured the state of turmoil in the Vines camp. It would soon peak. The summit of the Vines problems manifested itself in their hometown of Sydney in May ’04. A live concert and broadcast held at the Annandale Hotel for Australia’s largest commercial radio station Triple M was the backdrop. The writing was on the wall when 2 songs in, Nicholls kicked out at a photographer before launching into a series of deranged yelps from the stage. It was like listening to a wounded animal, and it was very, very sad. A band imploding on stage in front of their families and disbelieving audience, and a singer reduced to a wailing wreck. By mid set bassist Patrick Matthews had taken enough, he left the stage and got the bus home. Triple M announced a lifetime ban on the Vines. The following night’s sold out show at Sydney’s Metro Theatre was cancelled, as was all future live dates including a pending 2 month US tour. Nicholls was completely broken, and just to complete the picture, then charged with assault. It was game over. Following a great deal of soul searching and acting on a hunch put forward by the band’s guitar tech, Craig Nicholls was referred to Dr Tony Attwood, one of the world’s leading authority on the neurological condition, Aspergers Syndrome. Dr Attwood diagnosed Nicholls as suffering from the condition that is considered a form of autism. Thus began a most difficult period of readjustment for Craig Nicholls and the band. It would be fair to say that nobody connected to the band thought that the Vines would ever record again nor see Craig Nicholls well enough to lead something approaching a normal, healthy life. However, with professional assistance, Nicholls responded well to his treatment. His previously much publicised marijuana and fast food intake is now a thing of the past. It was with these life changes undertaken that in September 2005, the Vines were able to enter a tiny Sydney studio with Australian producer Wayne Connolly (You Am I, Youth Group) and recorded a set of tracks Nicholls had written in a spate of creativity during the previous couple of months. The result was the third album ‘Vision Valley’ which was released in April 2006. It was a record that saw The Vines come full circle. They had nothing to lose because they found themselves at the bottom again. The major triumph was not only that Craig Nicholls managed to overcome the odds to make ‘Vision Valley’, but that the album itself was such a blistering set performed by a band with a renewed sense of purpose and energy. After months of rehearsal and careful planning, The Vines made a triumphant return to the live stage in August 2006 with a surprise appearance on the main stage at Australia’s Splendour In The Grass festival. Exploding out of the blocks to a rapturous crowd, the band played the set of their lives and put in motion the second phase of their career, this time as a live force to be reckoned with. Appearances at the Reading and Leeds festivals and a sold out show at the Forum in London followed, before the band returned for an Australian tour that sold out in minutes. For a band that had been so far down, it was nothing short of miraculous. The Big Day Out followed in 2007, where The Vines became the “bands band”, a favourite of all the other performers on the tour, regularly being watched by members of The Killers, Muse and Tool as they played blistering sets in city after city. The Vines fourth album is currently in production and with Craig Nicholls healthier and more determined than he has ever been, a cracking live band behind him and a desire to get their music out to the world once again, the next chapter in The Vines remarkable history promises to be as exciting as ever.

Saturday March 15, 2008 12:00am - 12:30am
Pangaea 409 Colorado St

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