The Vaccines share the same fate as us.
Forever doomed to the pits of Google search rankings for the floods of Covid articles on vaccines and no taste.
Even the man on the door laughed, “No Taste, like the Covid symptom?” to which we triumphantly replied, “Yes. And we’re here to see the cure.” (We’d prepared this earlier in anticipation of meeting the band. Probably for the best that we did not meet the band.)
We arrive about 15 minutes before they’re scheduled to play. Just enough time to soak in the heavy smell of incense and grab a pint, but far too late to get anywhere near the front. It’s packed.
The lights dim and Misirlou rips through the speakers. It was an Amy Winehouse circa 2011 entrance as frontman, Justin Young, stumbled on stage towards the mic. There’s a genuine fear that he’ll just be mumbling down the mic, but no. Quite the opposite.
They skipped the foreplay tonight.
As if the staggered walk was just a reaction to the blistering heat coming from the crowd, Justin snapped into an electric performance of Wanderlust from their new album and the fans followed lead and turned into a sea of frenzied piranhas fighting for a single piece of chicken (I’m not researching if they eat chicken).
I was honestly shocked, but we had no time for that, we needed to be in the thick of it.
There was instantly the same energy of a bull behind the gate desperate to impale the matador and Freddie’s taunting solo at the tip of the stage on the first song was giving the bull a final slap on the arse and releasing it. And it only got more heated.
Did you know that it’s possible to feel fomo whilst still being at a gig? I don’t know if you’ve been to Electric Brixton before, but there are two small staircases into the stalls and it’s nigh on impossible to get down there once it’s kicked off.
Justin admitted he’s not feeling 100% after the cheers from the opener, but you couldn’t have guessed it (apart from the staggering entrance).
They’re like brothers on the stage (no, not whacking each other at every opportunity. The loving kind). Justin and Freddie especially. They absolutely live for the show and they’re visibly happy to be back.
The Vaccines are a romantic, indie pop group, so I wasn’t surprised to see it overpopulated with couples, but it was a little unexpected seeing so many of them in the mosh pits. Yes, there were mosh pits that soon.
We rode out the first part at the back, still fixed on trying to find a way to the front like little puppies running back and forth desperately trying to push our way through the toe-tapping couples and into relentless animals at the front.
Now, I’m a tall bloke. Too tall apparently. Precisely one row of people into our mission of reaching the stalls, I’m aggressively told to “move it”. Who gets angry at a Vaccines gig? Although ‘I got thwacked at The Vaccines and lived to tell the tale’ makes for a strong headline.
We’re then graced with ‘Wetsuit’ when a large chunk of people see it a fit time for a toilet break due to the lack of mosh pits (every band has these). This is our opportunity to dive into the front.
With it being a comeback show before their arena tours next year, they mixed in a lot of older tracks. The party anthems, you could say. But their newer songs stood strong in the mix, with a grand chorus of people singing along already. “Paranormal Romance” being one of the crowd favourites.
You had no time for a breather, to admire the visuals.
They right hooked us with “Post Break-up Sex”, a swift uppercut with “Your Love is My Favourite Band” and then a left, right, goodnight from “All My Friends are Falling in Love” onwards.
At this point there’d be a mosh pit to the fire alarm.
When I say mosh pits, it’s a circle of people pushing each other. Much more pleasant being shoulder barged by a teenager than getting windmilled from some fat bald bloke.
Justin thanks the crowd and explains they’re nothing without them after XCT and dashes for the exit. The screams of “one more song” echo through the venue as if it’s a Wembley stadium crowd at capacity.
After we commented on how sweaty everybody is, the band returned to really turn on the taps.
“Wreckin’ Bar” was mental- as you’d expect. “All in White” was mental- as you are less likely to expect. A full on sing-yer-heart-out, bounce around as if it’s the last thing you’ll ever do, affair.
People are soaked, exhausted, battered – and fucking exstatic. I caught odd snippets of conversations as we were leaving and all were positive.
It’s still a lot of the fans first gig back after the off season and you could tell by the energy.
I really hope this infectious, wonderful recklessness doesn’t die, and if shows like this continue to exist, I’m positive it won’t.
The Vaccines definitely add a rose tint to life. The walk home was peaceful and optimistic. You could see the stars and there were no cars, even walking past the girl eating McDonalds out of the bag whilst sitting on the pavement felt like I was in a French movie.