By Malvina Rincon
Outside of the historic (and tiny) Troubadour in West Hollywood, disappointed fans attempted to get into the sold out show. Meanwhile, openers Deap Vally started the night with their bluesy-rock infused riffs as the lucky crowd with tickets began to trickle in for the headliners – The Vaccines.
The London-based quartet walked onto the stage to cheers from the anxious crowd before ripping into “No Hope” the first track from their, soon to be released, sophomore album Come of Age. With the new album already released in the UK and streaming on the band’s own website, it was unsurprising to find the crowd singing every line. The set continued with the first track from their debut album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? The high-energy ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ touched familiar territory with the rest of the audience still in the dark with material from the new album.
Formed in 2010, The Vaccines have shot to rock ‘n’ roll stardom in a short amount of time with their punky, punchy songs. Their exciting live shows have gained them an increasing fan base as main singer, Justin Young, dominates the stage as he did at the Troubadour. Guitarist Freddie Cowan, with all of his Joe Strummer-esque swagger, is equally dominating as he teased the audience with his skillful guitar wielding on crowd favorites, like “If You Wanna” and “Post Break-Up Sex”. Like a good rock ‘n’ roll band, The Vaccines take part in the tradition of playing their instruments to eachother with Cowan taking lead and engaging bassist, Arni Arson and drummer, Pete Robertson. The women in the audience were particularly vocal in their approval as the temperatures rose, literally. The venue was so hot that, at some point, Arson had to sit down on the stage, bass on lap, with sweat dripping down his face and long, blonde locks.
Young’s theatrical stage presence had him singing with lazy vocals that seemed part of the act because he obviously feels the words of every song he sings. His vocals were at times reminiscent of Paul Banks (Interpol) on songs like “Ghost Town” and the Joy Division-esque “Bad Mood”, both from the new album. Young sang with a dark intensity as he drew in the audience with his telling facial expressions. Sneers hit the crowd like daggers, but none took offense.
A change of pace came with wistful “Wetsuit”, which provided the sing-a-long of the night. Arson’s heavy bass and Robertson’s steady beats provided a romantic atmosphere in the sweltering venue. As fans at the front looked up adoringly at Young, the band’s next song “Teenage Icon” never seemed more fitting. The audience was mostly made up teenagers who bobbed their heads, shuffled their feet, and clapped their hands in the air in excitement. There was no doubt that the new songs, met with the same fervor as older songs, are on their way to being classics for the band.
After many “thank you’s” throughout the night and apologies for waiting so long to come back to Los Angeles, the fifty minute set ended with “Norgaard”. The crowd, sweaty and flushed, danced and sang along without wanting to let go of the night. Like a hopped-up Buddy Holly, Young covered every inch of the stage and, for one night, The Vaccines turned the Troubadour into a sock-hop for the modern age.
Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
I Always Knew
Under Your Thumb
Post Break-Up Sex
All in White
Change of Heart Pt. 2
Blow It Up
If You Wanna