Live Review: Vistas // The Leadmill, Sheffield, 15.11.23

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Sheffield’s own psychedelic retro-pop outfit Minds Idle set the scene before Birmingham rising stars Overpass delivered a rousing warm-up set, with highlights including ‘3AM’ and recent single ‘Beautiful’. Edinburgh indie rock trio Vistas subsequently took to the stage of Sheffield’s esteemed music institution, The Leadmill on Wednesday evening, following the release of their third studio album, Is This All We Are? back in September. 

Kicking off with the invigorating ‘Cruel Hearts’ from the latest record, Prentice Robertson, Dylan Rush, and Jamie Law navigated through an arsenal of infectious tracks, their penchant for earwormy hooks and simple refrains only occasionally flirting with the formulaic, as witnessed in the ‘woahs’ of ‘The Love You Give’.

Set standouts ‘Everything Changes In The End’ and ‘One More Night With No One’ echoed through the venue like a manifesto of youth, while ‘Follow You Down’ took the audience on a sonic pilgrimage through a landscape of catchy hooks and contagious enthusiasm. Even frontman Robertson’s expressive eyebrows couldn’t resist having a wee dance. 

‘The Beautiful Nothing’, from the 2023 EP by the same name, deserves special mention, with the Spector-esque lyric “How much money does it take to feel cheapened?” perhaps reflective of bespectacled frontman Fred Macpherson’s production work with the Scottish trio; Macpherson told The Indiependent he was impressed by the speed at which Vistas churn out hits when we spoke to him at Tramlines earlier this year.

While their catalogue may be packed full of frenetic anthems, the band themselves are remarkably calm, with Robertson only occasionally stopping to address his audience. What the band lack in interactivity, though, they make up for with a refreshing humility. The endearing lack of pretension in Vistas’ performance, somewhat of a rarity in the crowded galaxy of indie rock, was perhaps best evinced by the decision to eschew the traditional encore theatrics. “We’re not going to do that thing where we go off stage for ten minutes,” said Robertson, garnering an enthusiastic cheer.

Instead, Vistas treated the crowd to the dynamic duo of ‘Stranger’ and ‘Retrospect.’ It was a calculated decision that further underlined their commitment to substance over spectacle, leaving the audience with a sense of fulfilment rather than a hankering for more. In the final chords of ‘Retrospect,’ as the reverberations faded into the ether, it was evident that Vistas had crafted not just a concert but a connection. What else were you hoping to find? 

Words by Beth Kirkbride 


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