GIG REVIEW: The Vaccines @ KCLSU, London – Shockwaves NME Awards Tour Warm-up

Entering the small, cramped Student Union of King’s College London, I was initially surprised by how many people that had actually fit in the place. Barely making it past the door, I luckily managed to get a good view of the stage, being part of a jovial that were obviously mad excited about the show. Who could blame them? If The Vaccines’ fame and fortune projects in the same way it has been, this is probably the smallest venue they will be playing in for a very long time.

A weird, unrecognisable (to me at least) entrance music for the band when they finally took to the stage was met by a little bemusement from the crowd before it was drowned out by the cheering and clapping that shows already how loved this band are. Weirdly enough, one of the first things I noticed were singer, Justin Young’s distressingly tight white trousers and guitarist Freddie Cowan’s swagger, marking himself with immediate availability for photo opportunities, which was good with the high photographer presence. Yet, the band had little time for delay as they almost immediately broke out in a rendition of “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)”, easily their most urgent and riveting song. Of course, the crowd reaction was massive. Fast and unrelenting, but over in a heartbeat, the crowd barely had enough time to even start moshing.

Their most recent single, “Post Break Up Sex” also elicited a strong crowd response, with the kind of crowd sing-a-long chants that you’d only normally expect of long-established bands, not groups less than a year old. What surprised me was the amount of stereotypical lads in the crowd, with their shirt buttons done all the way up, evenly spread amongst the more obviously indie-leaning types. It showed the mass appeal that The Vaccines obviously inspire and generate with their music. In fact, the crowd itself was very much united in it’s appreciation, they lapped up every word that Young spewed forth, even the straightforward declaration that they would be playing “One slow one, then a few fast ones.”

“Blow It Up”, the fellow a-side to first single “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)”, was also a big crowd-pleaser. A little more drawn out than it’s single counterpart it goaded the crowd easily as much as their opener. As this song ended the set before an inevitable encore, it had a pretty lasting impression on the attendees, with a chant of the chorus taking place mere seconds after the band had left the stage. It obviously proved effective for the band to hear such affection, as they took little time returning to the stage for a couple more songs. To cap off my night, the band ran, with one member on piggyback, and darted into a nearby lift to leave, which was obviously quite bizarre. If this Saturday night’s proceedings were anything to go by, The Vaccines will be playing to very loving, and probably equally packed, crowds across the country.

The Vaccines are touring with Crystal Castles, Magnetic Man and Everything Everything as part of the Shockwaves NME Awards Tour. They will also be playing their largest headlining show to date, at the Electric Ballroom, in April. More details can be found here.

Stream “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” + “Blow It Up” below
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