Craig Nichols of The Vines at Russian Standard Vodka s Live at the Chapel gig.
Craig Nichols of The Vines at Russian Standard Vodka's Live at the Chapel gig.

I was quite traumatised to realise that the last time I saw The Vines was way back in 2003 at the Sydney Big Day Out.

This was at the height of the 'The' bands era; The Vines, The Strokes, The Hives, The White Stripes.

The Vines were riding high on the success of their debut album, and were playing a coveted late afternoon time slot to a packed, drunken crowd in the acoustics graveyard that is the main arena of the BDO.

WATCH: See The Vines perform 'Gimme Love' at Russian Standard Vodka Live at the Chapel

PICS: The Vines at Russian Standard Vodka Live at the Chapel

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Fast forward more than eight years to Thursday night's 'Russian Standard Vodka Live at the Chapel' performance and you see a band with the same passions and influences, but far less signs of the chaos that marked much of their early career.

Taking to the stage, the band was characteristically subdued, all downcast eyes and nonchalant expressions - which was somewhat fitting for the sacred venue.

'Russian Standard Vodka Live at the Chapel' has become a bit of an Australian musical institution. Originally based out of a church in Melbourne, it has recently made a move to Sydney and has made St Stephen's Church in Newtown its home.

Artists as diverse as Temper Trap, Lady Gaga and Delta Goodrem have performed for the series and the stunning backdrop seems to make for transcendent performances.

To open the gig, The Vine's lead singer, Craig Nichols, mumbled a couple of words before breaking into one of their new songs. It would be inaccurate to say that their new material is a return to form; there is a maturity to their new music and it has moved away from the short, punchy, mosh-pit pleasing singles that originally shot them to fame.

Nichols showed off a softer side with melodic, harmonised vocals on a track that would not have been out of place as soundtrack to a 70's inspired acid bender. However they have remained true to their rock roots in other tracks with growling heavy vocals and grunge era inspired baselines. And of course it wouldn't be a Vines' gig without a couple of Nichol's deranged, impassioned screams.

As the gig gained momentum, a small smile crept across Nichol's face. When they broke into their old hits ('Get Free,' 'Ride') the crowd leapt to their feet – not a small achievement when you're pinned into Church pews.

By the end of the set, both band and crowd were grinning maniacally at one another and even the jaded industry people toward the back seemed to have been swept up by the performance.

The Vines are definitely in a different place musically than they were when we were first introduced to them, and with the release of their new album, 'Future Primitive,' I'm keen to explore their new sound.

With such a tight set and great performance, it's clear that this new album marks a new stage in their career and it will be interesting to see how the general public responds to this calmer, more measured approach.

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