Hyperbolically held up by critics as the saviours of British guitar music, it’s easy to write off The Vaccines as little more than the overhyped indie band of the minute. This would be a tragic oversight however as, whilst they don’t revolutionise indie rock and roll, they do a far better job of it than any of their contemporaries.
Proof of the chasmic divide between The Vaccines and similar bands came in the form of the evening’s support acts. Howler plodded out interchangeable indie tunes from the bottom of the bill as the sold out LCR quickly reached capacity. Frankie & the Heartstrings stepped things up a notch, but unfortunately the only person who was really into their set was Frankie himself. Indeed before closing the set with their standout track Photograph, he raised his largest cheer of the night by remarking: “We’ll get out of your way as you’re only here to see one band.” It’s sad, but he’s right.
Kicking off the set with If You Wanna and Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra), when The Vaccines band did finally hit the stage, they brought a volley of adrenaline with them. Just as tight and punchy live as they are on the record, the formerly static crowd couldn’t stop moving and singing along. The band gets through songs just a quickly live as they do on the record too, knocking out hits for 15 minutes before even saying hello: that’s nearly half their album.
As a result, it wasn’t the longest of sets, coming in at under an hour. A few non-album tracks helped stretch it out a bit, but none were just filler. The B-side We’re Happening was surprisingly well known and received and a pair of up tempo new tracks suggested the second album is going to be more rock and roll than indie pop. Family Friend mellowed things out nicely towards the end of the set, showing off the band’s often overlooked penchant for dusky melancholy, and Nørgaard ended it with a bang.
Overall it was a tough show to have too many gripes with but its length was a sore reminder that it’s going to take the all important second album to cement The Vaccines as a truly great live band.