Whether you like them or not, The Vaccines are a modern music success story. Having only formed in 2010, and been confirmed to headline London’s prestigious O2 Arena next year with only 2 albums under their belt, they have achieved a status other bands could only dream of in a very short time. It also means that with their arena dates in 2013, this autumn tour of the UK could be the last time to get sweaty in a small(ish) venue with Justin Young and co. The fact is, The Vaccines’ simple post-punk sound is perfect for live performances, so it’s safe to say that their gig at Liverpool University’s Mountford Hall, went down a treat.
They ran on stage with hands in the air, Slade’s “Cum and Feel the Noize” playing in the background, seemingly caught up in a sense of triumph. Their new album “The Vaccines Come of Age” went straight to Number 1 on its release and received near universal positive reviews. Album opener “No Hope” is the perfect start, with a fuzz of guitar chords slowly melting away for Justin’s sly and swaying vocals. Debut opener “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” came next, a lightning bolt assault of indie rock frenzy which might have been better suited for reviving the crowd halfway through the set; even so, it still goes down a treat.
Interestingly, the first half of the set was primarily made up of the band’s earlier material; “Tiger Blood” is followed by “A Lack of Understanding,” and after this comes “Wetsuit”, one of the calmer moments on their debut “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?”, before finally returning to new territories with recent single “Teenage Icon.”
In all fairness, their debut is arguably more popular than their second effort (despite being equally as good), and it is “If You Wanna” towards the end of the set that gets the biggest singalong of the night. Having said that, new tracks “Aftershave Ocean,” “Bad Mood” and “Ghost Town” are perfectly suited for live performances, with the latter’s fast pounding beat sending the crowd into a craze. Most of the material is notoriously short (“Tiger Blood” threatens to bubble over, but comes to an end after 2 minutes), but this only maintains the energy of the performance. Only on “Wetsuit”, “Aftershave Ocean” and ”All In White” does the band slow down for a breather.
During the set, each band member had a smile on their face, but no-one has a bigger smile than Justin Young. Cheekily throwing out banter between songs, he revealed that this is their first headline show in Liverpool (to a rousing cheer). Also, as last night was Thanksgiving in America, he admitted the band doesn’t know what Thanksgiving is, but “we’ve just had a load of food and we’re thankful!” When the band come on for a three song encore, he yells “Much better than Manchester!” which is as big a cliche as they come but is still greatly appreciated. “Norgaard” almost turns Mountford Hall into a riot, and just like that the band are gone; it doesn’t feel like an hour and a half has passed.
For The Vaccines themselves, it is not difficult to see why they continue to rise, and it would not surprise me if the next time they come to Liverpool, it is headlining the O2 Arena. You can only hope that by then, the audience will have warmed to their new material; you can’t live off your debut forever.