The Vaccines are the juggernauts of the British indie rock genre. They released their first album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? back in 2011 and, after gaining overwhelming success at a rapid rate, second record Come Of Age followed shortly after in 2012. A brief EP appeared in 2013, but since then the quartet have been mainly under the radar, taking a break before recording new material in New York.
The band are three albums deep now and this is their third appearance at Brixton this week on a nationwide UK tour in support of their latest LP English Graffiti. Tonight is in fact their tenth appearance at the South London venue in their career as lead singer Justin Hayward-Young informs the crowd during his first interaction, and it’s an evident sentiment as the band take to the stage like they own it.
Opening with English Graffiti’s lead single Handsome, the band storm the venue with the vibrant energy that has been there since day one, with Hayward-Young reciting the ballsy lyrics: “Lonely, bored and bad thank God I’m handsome.”
Continuing straight into Teenage Icon the London band showcase the electrifying and infectious guitar riffs which have propelled them all along.
There is a healthy amount of tracks from the four-piece’s first two records in tonight’s set, with album tracks like Wetsuit, Wolf Pack and Bad Mood proving to be immediate hits with the Brixton crowd. While third album tracks like Dream Lover and 20/20 get just as much of an enthusiastic reaction as original singles Post Break-Up Sex and If You Wanna.
As the band depart from the stage, their frontman returns shortly with just a bright, white acoustic guitar for a slower, solo rendition of No Hope.
After a frenzied and faultless performance of We’re Happening, the four-piece charge into their final track, Norgaard. The audience erupts with flailing limbs everywhere as confetti streams out from either side of the stage. It’s the perfect end to the show and a perfect end to three nights at one of London’s most prestigious venues.
Words and photo by Shannon Cotton