Monday 19 February 2024

Live Review: The Vaccines, Bristol O2 Academy - 15 February 2024

In an ironic turn of events, from the hundreds of gigs I've been lucky enough to attend over the years, I was yet to catch The Vaccines at their own headline show. My last outing being an Arctic Monkeys support slot back in 2011. So it was safe to say as the crowded room filled up, anticipation was at an all time high at Bristol's O2 Academy.

Thankfully there was two support slots to whet the appetite until then. First up Divorce. The Nottingham based newcomers have already been creating a name for themselves with a recently shared selection of EP's. Live, they're an entirely different beast crafting punchy basslines and guitar layers delivered with pin-point accuracy. As a band that have honed their sound playing on the live circuit, it's no surprise to learn their music transcends incredibly well as they played out to an almost capacity crowd with an appreciation for their music. From chugging guitars and spacious percussion that gave way to their slow burning crescendos and sleezy pop melodies, the band rounded up a spectacular show rich in musicianship with their shared vocals, sublime melodies and towering pop sensibilities.

With a quick change-over, next up was Australia's Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers. Try saying that fast when you're drunk. Thankfully their music rolls off a lot more receptively as they wasted no time in thrashing out their punk-tinged rock. Their songs are snappy. Catchy lyrics and heavy percussion aplenty. But beneath their thrashing sound is a real musicality. The band seemed genuinely pleased to be on stage doing what they love and as the crowd began to loosen up there's even time for humour as they announced their hour long ballad, which turns out to be a ferocious 20 second sprint. Certainly ones to keep an eye on.

As this point I wasn't sure anyone else could've possibly fitted in to the general floor standing area. Crammed in like sardines though we awaited The Vaccines arrival. And so began a whirlwind of energy and infectious melodies, as the lights dimmed and the band took centre stage delivering a performance that ignited the crowd's spirits and reaffirmed their status as indie-rock stalwarts.

As the energy crackled in the air, Love to Walk Away soon faded in to the unmistakable chords of their hit single "Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)" as their chorus chants filled the venue, instantly setting the tone for the electrifying night ahead. The Vaccines were here to command attention and leave no stone unturned in leaving their lasting impression. 

As Justin Hayward-Young's charismatic presence captivated the audience from the get-go, his raw vocals cut effortlessly through the air as he led the band through a dynamic set-list spanning their entire discography. Whether it was the irresistible hooks of "If You Wanna" or the anthemic chorus of "Post Break-Up Sex," each song was met with fervent cheers and enthusiastic sing-alongs, highlighting the band's knack for crafting instantly memorable tunes. Now with 6 albums, it really is easy to forget just how many classic songs the band hold in their back catalogue. And yet despite the tour being in support of their most recent LP Pick-Up Full Of Pink Carnations, the set was peppered with nostalgia as they ticked off every possible track fans could have wanted. 

Other notable moments included the commandeering "Wetsuit" which saw Young's effortless swagger come to life as he crooned above the expansive melodies before "Jump Off The Top's" vibrant energy saw him look more tentatively at the balcony, possibly hoping they didn't take the lyrics quite so literally.

As the final chords faded into the night upon a 4-track encore, it was clear that The Vaccines had delivered a performance for the ages, reaffirming their status as one of indie-rock's most exhilarating live acts. With their infectious melodies, boundless energy, and unwavering passion, they proved once again why they are still so adored adored by fans 6 albums deep. Evidently clear as they sang back each and every word throughout the night, and as Young walked off stage from singing the first line of "Norgaard" only for the fans to carry the rest of the band, it remained a testament to their ardent devotion. It's safe to say if tonight's show was anything to go by, they show no signs of slowing down.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.