Dead Distance, TNL VZN at The Jacaranda,
Liverpool, England Jan. 2024
A special review written and photographed by David Bronstein
When it rains in Liverpool it rains hard, it rains violent and it is here to stay for day and night. The lights of a brilliant night life are reflected on the pavements and roads and if the paving slabs and tarmac could talk what a tale they would have to tell. Think Liverpool and you think of The Beatles but let's not do injustice to such a vibrant city which continues to produce a plethora of fresh talent as does the rest of the UK.
That's why making the trip to Liverpool to be at the Jacaranda for three bands I have limited knowledge about is actually a no brainer. Actually that's a little lie because I am here for one of the support bands more than the others (although I end up enjoying all three). That band is TNL VZN, just to make sure that is an abbreviation for Tunnel Vision but type that in Google and you get results for a University in Toulon, France and not to leave out the Netherlands they squeeze themselves in with a logistic transports site, both of no interest, but this band are.
TNL VZN were formed in 2021 and hail from Birmingham the same city of course as Black Sabbath. I've often personally found that the better gigs are kind of found by accident or at the last minute and it is the same when you stumble onto music you didn't prepare for. I'd never visited The Jacaranda before but I knew it was just as an important music venue in Liverpool as The Cavern. At ‘The Jac' as locals call it is where The Beatles reportedly played their first gig and John Lennon wrote the song One After 909, in short it is a legendary venue, so I decided to get my ass up there but first I wanted to hear what TNL VZN were all about. That is when I found ‘Do You Know What Happens Next?' and instantly from the trance like beginning I was hooked. Singer Eva Beard just gives you enough of the mystery in the opening verses and then the band explodes for the chorus. The hook drives you in and since that day when I first listened I am being honest when I say I have played this track well over a hundred times.
To be sure the night I witness TNL VZN they are the support act for another up and coming band called Dead Distance so that means that TNL VZN's set is quite short but the small room which probably holds less than 100 people is near full already. Singer Eva Beard has a stage presence like she has been playing live music for years and also is wearing a rather cool Psycho t-shirt which is always gonna go down well at HMS! On drums is Lewis Moore and there is another Lewis on guitar in Lewis Norton. He stands next to Alex Ionita on this tiny stage as the two fervently exchange licks. Robert Rhodes has a mannerism which reminds me of Tom Morello and in this setting especially the band are loud! I get to hear more tracks from them and the stand outs for me are set opener Persephone and another instant classic in Night Terror.
I've been going to and photographing gigs for the past 30 years and for me TNL VZN are a bloody special band. They have the stage presence but also have the songs to back it up. Go and catch them when they start to put more dates together, because seeing this band in a small club could well become obsolete if they can follow their trajectory, the only way for them is surely to the top. If there is any justice then pretty soon the next time you go type TNL VZN into google you won't be getting suggestions for a university or a logistics company but for a band who are ready to set the world on fire.
David Bronstein, HMS