REVIEW: THE VACCINES AT BRISTOL ANSON ROOMS (04/04/11)
Conscious of the media hype surrounding them, The Vaccines named their debut album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? It proved to be a highly charged, fast-paced, belter of a punk pop record which made you want to pogo round your room like a mostly carefree (but slightly tortured) teenager. It is this record which they showcased at this gig. Obviously. The last time (and the first time) The Vaccines played Bristol was at the 02 Academy as part of the NME Awards Tour. They opened for Everything Everything, Magnetic Man and Crystal Castles. They played half a dozen songs and left the whole crowd wanting more. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait too long (unlike the poor Scots who keep seeing The Vaccines gigs postponed for various reasons). Unsurprisingly the gig was sold out, but one of the good things about the Anson Rooms is that even if a gig is sold out it doesn’t feel rammed and uncomfortable. There was plenty of space to dance and it wasn’t hard to make a beeline for the friendly mosh pit down the front.
The London-boys opened with Under Your Thumb before launching headfirst into Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra). I always wondered what a wreckin bar and apparently it’s basically a crow bar. I’m not even going to try and decipher what The Vaccines mean in this song. Hell, it don’t even matter cos this song rocks. It’s one of those tunes which is wonderfully short – the kind of song which cuts off and stops just as it reaches its climax. You’re left there wanting more but you know it’s a fitting end for such a rip-roaring punky delight. Next up is the soaring indie ballad Blow It Up which lifts you up and out of your shell in an awesome anthemic way. It is here The Vaccines slip in a notably guitar solo – perfect in length, pitch and execution. Youtube The Vaccines and you’ll be lucky to find half a dozen different songs on there. They’ve only been going for a year and have been so busy touring and doing press it’s a wonder they have any songs at all. One of the songs getting a lot of coverage is If You Wanna, which they played midway through the set. Just before they treated us to this, Justin revealed the song was about a girl who went to Bristol University. And here we were, hearing it in Bristol University Student Union. That’s pretty special right? Right. A hall full of people chanting: ‘If you wanna come back, it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright if you wanna come back.” Sadly, my personal favourite song of theirs, Post Break Up Sex, proved a bit lacklustre. The sound wasn’t great and it wasn’t a patch on the beautiful recorded version. But then I had very high hopes for that one.
As things heated up (both metaphorically and literally), lead singer Justin Young reluctantly removed his jacket. Jackets are rock’n’roll right? But comfort takes precedence here. Justin’s vocals are powerful and raw and are the glue which holds this operation together, but it’s not all about the frontman. The whole bands take it in turns covering all areas of the stage, shoulders bobbing, heads nodding and legs tapping. The Vaccines say they’re influenced by a wide range of music from the last four or five decades and you can certainly pick out hints of this. 50s Rock’n’Roll in A Lack Of Understanding (like Jerry Lee Lewis), 70s punk (think The Clash) in Norgaard and Nu-Folk (a la Mumford and Sons) in Family Friend. In a world where so many artists are employing the latest technology to make complex disjointed dubstep, indie hybrids it really is refreshing to hear a simple yet fresh sounding guitar-based poppy indie punk. Songs that stick in your head for days, making you smile, making you dance and giving you faith in new British bands.
Words: Laura Williams
by 247 Magazine