By Michel Dussack
About 6 months after being forced to cancel their U.S. tour due to singer Justin Young needing vocal surgery, The Vaccines triumphantly returned to perform at Coachella for two weekends, as well as stop at New York’s Webster Hall for a sold out show that was everything a rock show should be. Their 15 song set went by in a blur of sing alongs, moshing, and teenagers suffering from alcohol poisoning next to me, partly because of just how well this band delivers their material, but also because the set clocked in at a mere 49 minutes. This wasn’t The Vaccines’ fault, as their limited amount of material, coupled with the short length of the majority of their songs meant the band simply didn’t have any more songs to play, even after playing three songs from their upcoming album.
The band came on stage backed by a giant back drop of the cover of the album “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines” and delivered a one two punch of hits ‘Blow It Up’ which was a slow start for the “post-punk” band and ‘Wrecking Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ which was when the show truly took off. The band jumped around and ran all over the stage, and the crowd jumped along. Nearly every song was a hit with the crowd, though ‘Wet Suit’, ‘Post Break-Up Sex’, and ‘If You Wanna’ were easily the most popular songs in the main set. Young was a fantastic front man, leaning over and reaching out to the eager crowd that was pushed up against the stage (there was no barricade for this show), all the while playing guitar and singing.
The three new songs that the band played were simply great, and showed the band skewing their sound towards and edgier sound with less pop sensibility. Particularly of note was ‘Bad Mood’ which opened the encore. As Young introduced it, he noted that the crowd didn’t “know the words to sing with me, but you can still fucking dance!” and everyone happily followed. ‘Norgaard’ followed to close the show and as a giant pit opened up a few rows from the stage, it was clear that the time away from touring hadn’t taken away anything from the band. Their live show was just as energetic and chaotic, and their fans were just enthusiastic.
The Vaccines are one of those great young bands that prove that rock and roll will never be dead, even if it doesn’t reside in the forefront of popular music at the moment. But really, what did you expect from The Vaccines?