The Vaccines - O2 Academy Brixton

First things first - and the only time I will mention this - this is the first gig I have been to since the devastating attacks on Le Bataclan in Paris. Entering the venue, you sense the security has been stepped up (a more thorough search than experienced before at Brixton) – not that this made a difference to the jubilant mood of those in attendance. And all the better for it.

Right, to the music itself. Support came from New York three piece Sunflower Bean blasting out their blend of My Bloody Valentine and overwrought prog/metal riffage; they're ones to watch. There was also a belting performance from Palma Violets who played as if this were their headline show thanks in part to bassist Chilli Jesson throwing rock star poses while playing their ramshackle garage rock.

Taking to a stage replete with blinding lights, disco balls, colour co-ordinated white guitars, and rapturous applause, The Vaccines launch into a set that elevates them from their previous incarnations into serious contenders for the "next big stadium act". This is especially noticeable from the mix in crowd – from gothy emo types to tweens, lager louts to hipsters (young and old), and semi begrudging parents chaperoning their kids. At various times they channel Kasabian, The Killers (in their prime), and Morrissey with singer Justin Hayward-Young’s commanding stage presence and Freddie Cowan’s faultless guitar work. It is also largely drummer Pete Robertson’s precision tub-thumping that elevates the band from decent indie live act to the top – even allowing for a very Spinal Tap drum solo; though you can forgive the indulgence at a homecoming gig.

The band rattle through a set touching pretty evenly across all three albums. 'Wetsuit' starts the first crowd singalong of many this evening, blitzing through other highlights of the evening such as 'Post Break Up Sex', 'Wreckin Bar', '20/20', and 'All in White'. Justin returns for an encore for acoustic number 'No Hope', rarely played 'We’re Happening', before wrapping up with a blistering version of 'Norgaard' with strobe lighting and glitter cannon – the effortlessly catchy and relentless set leaves you expecting a triumphant 80s movie freeze-frame as the band exit the stage.

Setlist
1. Handsome
2. Teenage Icon
3. Ghost Town
4. Dream Lover
5. Wetsuit
6. Minimal Affection
7. Tiger Blood
8. Wolf Pack
9. Bad Mood
10. Post Break-Up Sex
11. Melody Calling
12. (All Afternoon) In Love
13. Give Me a Sign
14. Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
15. 20/20
16. I Always Knew
17. If You Wanna
18. All in White

Encore

19. No Hope
20. We’re Happening
21. Norgaard

Last updated: 30/05/2018 18:26:23

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