This Vaccines article was written by Conor Davies a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Sam Forsdick
With every passing year and accompanying release, The Vaccines are beginning to prove their credentials as one of the biggest and best British rock bands around. The confident, classy performance at Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena is yet another example of just how far they’ve come in their five years together.
While the majority of the arena’s seating was covered in tarpaulin sheets, any initial worries about a lack of atmosphere was soon put to bed by the excellent supporting show delivered by indie favourites, Palma Violets. Hitting the high points with ‘Best Friends’, they ensured the standing crowd were rowdy and ready by the time the main act took to the stage.
With hints of swagger, the quartet took to the stage and quickly got the party going, beginning with a prime cut from this year’s LP ‘English Graffiti’, ‘Handsome’. The snappy, pacy feel to the track continued the momentum set by Palma Violets, and it got everyone in the standing section jumping around with enough energy to power the room all on their own.
For an indie band still in their relative youth, and only three big releases down, to be playing the vast arenas with such confidence is impressive. This is one of few recent British indie bands to have reasonable hopes of headlining summer festivals in the upcoming years. Getting a bit more diversity in their sound would be the next step for the band to take, the one-two combo of ‘Dream Lover’ and ‘Wetsuit’ from the newest and oldest records respectively, did show the progression of a sound that is showing steps have been made to rectify this.
The band’s crowd interaction was minimal but it worked in their favour to keep banging out hit after hit. This factor, along with the short, sweet nature of a number of their earlier work, meant that a whopping 22 songs were packed into a 90 minute set. As we rocketed through chunks of second record, ‘Coming of Age’, a clutch of the tracks that really saw them make their mark on the indie landscape had their moment. ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ got one of the biggest receptions of the night. It is the first track that really saw The Vaccines create a worthwhile pop song about something as relatable as the title implores.
Another early hit, ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’, just made you want to get up and dance, which many of the seating section, whose bums had firmly remained in their seats, promptly did. It’s a joyful clash of sounds, from Justin Hayward-Young’s incredibly catchy vocals, to the rough and ready guitar riffs that compliment him; it’s a track that has come to epitomise the band.
‘If You Wanna’, the soundtrack to many teen parties and a current advertisement soundtrack, is another tune that oozes quality and rhythm. On the night it brought the place to life, as renewed mosh-pits were illuminated by the pulsating stage lights and band and audience became one.
After all that fuss, then, the encore was a tad disappointing. An acoustic cover of ‘No Hope’ saw Hayward-Young declare his baying Nottingham crowd as “one of the best we’ve had”, a statement that hinted this is one future potential star front man in the making. Bassist Árni Árnason took on vocals for ‘Blow Your Mind’ and a song that took away some of the momentum from the backend of the set. Árnason’s rough vocals really sounded out of tune, and created a bit of a flat atmosphere, before Nørgaard turned things around for a barnstorming finish to proceedings.
By the end of the gig, plenty of smiling faces left the cavernous arena, and the future remains exceptionally bright for this band, who are slowly, but surely becoming one of the biggest bands on the British indie-rock frontlines.