No matter your opinion of The Vaccines, the one thing you cannot deny is how good they are as a live band! From the off tonight the band bounded on to the stage with a energy that spread like wildfire to the audience with lead singer Justin Hayward-Young as the master of ceremonies!
The band open with ‘Wanderlust’ from the most recent album ‘Back to Love City’ which is complemented with a stage set up of blue neon lights and strobes, this is followed by ‘I Can’t Quit’ with its driving bass drum that thumps right through the middle of your chest! The first mass sing along of the evening comes with ‘I Always Knew’ which has always given me the ‘Telstar’ vibes with its guitar riff at the beginning.
Justin’s interaction with the crowd is second to none as he begins to tell us that Portsmouth is dear to his heart as he grew up going to gigs in the city at the Wedgewood Rooms and the Pyramids, expressing his dismay that this is now a soft play/gym space!
Two of my highlights were housed in the middle of the set with ‘Wetsuit’ where Justin left the crowd to sing the beginning of the song and ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ with him also gesturing out to the crowd like he was looking out to sea.
Sitting at the back of the venue observing all that was going on in front of me in the rowdy crowd, I cast my mind back to when The Vaccines first hit the scene in the early 2010’s and the excitement that they brought with them. This appears not to have faded one bit, the band are still as infectious as ever. I remember the buzz vividly when they played the Big Top tent at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2011 and how many people were running to cram like sardines into the tent.
The paced of the gig slowed a little with ‘El Paso’ before moving into the uplifting number ‘Headphones Baby’ and ‘Jump Off the Top’ from the latest album. The ending to the evening was electric, the main set ended with arguably their most well known number ‘If You Wanna’ before The Vaccines came back onto the stage to play ‘XCT’, the short, sharp, snappy Ramones-esqe number ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ (what a way to open your debut album by the way!) and ‘All in White’ with its connotation to being a declaration of love.
A big shout out must also go to two amazing support bands tonight with Black Honey and Aziya!