The Van Susans: floating lemons, bras and flattened guitars

Posted: March 19, 2012 in Music Reviews

After the rigorous security procedures at Aberdeen’s The Lemon Tree and Mike was able to put his trousers back on the right way round, we (the dream team of Mike, Dave, Ieva, Shruti and our videographer, Rebecca) clambered up the stairs and into the Van Susan’s dressing room. There we found a spooky wood-panelled former chapel with a bell on the wall and guitar cases strewn across the floor as if some funky poltergeists had just been in for a jam. There was also a box of beer (empty) and a bowl of semi-exotic fruits, maybe as a peace offering to the string-happy spirits.

Then one half of the Van Susans entered. Luckily there are 6 in the band as 2.5 Van Susans would have been messy. Olly Van Andrews (lead vocalist and guitarist) and brothers Eddie Dullaway (lead guitarist) and Rob Dullaway (drummist) sauntered in to find their interviewers outnumbering themselves. After a little small talk about lemons, biscuits and proposed changes to international monetary policy in the Eurozone, Mike and Dave sat them down and chatted properly for the camera, ably assisted by the boom-meister general, Ieva; Rebecca handling the video camera and the frig rig (a real thing- click it if you don’t believe it) and Shruti stroking the buttons on the stills camera.

After a frenzied acoustic sesh, playing as yet unreleased hit, Served Cold, and a group photo of the lads complete with floating lemon action, we let them go and do their job downstairs on stage: supporting The (Beautiful) South.

The crowd swell down stairs was bubbling without being sweaty and chirpy without being frenzied. The slightly older audience who came to see 80s/90s legends, The South, looked stageward as the 3 young London lads strode on with their instruments in their talented hands. For more observant readers, Rob did not carry a full kit but a cajon drum which doubled as a comfy seat. His shaky eggs were pretty impressive too…

The big noise coming from this vibrant trio wowed the crowd with its finger-pickin good, acoustic brilliance. The thumping shakes from Rob set the platform for Eddie’s blistering solos and Olly’s wide-ranging vocal gymnastics and steady rhythms. The crowds were clapping, stomping and whooping as much as their bumping bones would allow. The Van Susans are all seasoned stage pros, only being in their 20s, using the mics and special sounds of the Lemon Tree rig-up to their great advantage. They blasted out their hits from their EP and eagerly awaited new album (due out in May), culminating in the new single, Bricks Not Sticks or Straw. The audience’s ears pricked up even more, dancing round the pillars and clapping like Mexicans on the 5th May.

A job well done above and beyond the call of duty, The Van Susans left with an extremely warm hand on their exit. With the rest of the night off, they slung back, polishing off a few beers while Dave dutifully ironed their guitar cases and the ladies fixed a bra around Olly’s one as a men-only anti-theft device. The details of the rest of the evening were a blur but involved plenty of real snow, red wine, coconut beer, The Moorings Bar (arrr!), country skanking to ACDC, trying to break the world record for fitting the most sweaty people in a Travelodge lift and of course, pear smuggling.

We’ll miss those chirpy Van Susans. It’s not often you find talent, youth, fun and niceness all rolled into one. A firm friend of the show, we can’t wait to meet the other half too for a laugh and a brew.


Dave Phillips is a writer, presenter and coconut smuggler for The MJ Radio Show on Aberdeen Student Radio

Follow the MJ Radio Show on facebook  –>here<–

To follow The Van Susans on facebook, click –>here<–

To see a picture of a lovely pair, click –>here<–


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