The Vaccines at the Olympia, Dublin on Monday 8th of April 2013
The Vaccines are an intriguing band to contemplate. While filling out the Olympia on a Monday just over two years after your first album is no mean feat (especially considering they played the Trinity Ball on Friday and Kilkenny on Saturday), it seems that they have hardly evolved since bursting onto the scene. Granted, they arrived on our radios fully formed with their third spot in BBC’s Sound of 2011 and NME cover all coming before ‘What Did You Expect from The Vaccines?’ was released.
When their sophomore album was released less than 18 months later ‘Come of Age’ seemed like an inappropriate title. It’s not that it was a let-down after the first album or anything; it was just almost the exact same: just short of 40 minutes high energy, infectious pop-rock.
And, shortly after they appear on Monday, they crack into the same thing all over again. Recent single No Hope gets the crowd jumping early as frontman Justin Young struts about the stage with more vigour than you’d expect from a man who sounds beyond cool on CD. He’s positively a cheerleader when he gets the crowd clapping before the band start into Wreckin’ Ball around him.
Arni Arnason (on bass) and Freddie Cowan (on guitar) also seem in the mood to bound joyfully around the stage. Drummer Pete Robertson seems like the only one off form, missing a few beats here and there, but it’s nothing to really upset anyone. Nor is the fact that the show lacks subtlety and has as much emotion as a washing machine. They are the catchy, rocky songs that the crowd know from the albums, played with the necessary of conviction to keep their focus fixed in the right direction.
That focus falls mostly on Young who looks every inch the accomplished frontman. He may not be a ‘teenage icon’, he is concurrently too clean-cut and too edgy for that, but the man who (from a distance anyway) looks like a slim Matt Berry has the swagger to conduct the crowd as he sees fit.
The problem however is, as they blast through three-minute pop song after three-minute pop, nothing really lingers in the mind. Everything, though enjoyable, seems all too dispensable. Case in point is Post Break-Up Sex. The song that the band are known for now, and one which will likely prove their legacy after they’ve gone, is given a short shrift. In fact, this version, which is played at a far higher tempo than on the album, is perhaps a low point of the show.
But, like the high points, it’s a low that doesn’t linger. By the time All in White and Change of Heart Pt. 2 have come and gone, everyone is too busy moving and singing to care about it. We are back , if we ever left, in good-time territory. This hits its zenith with If You Wanna just before the band exit the stage for the first time.
A trio of Wolfpack, Bad Mood (an under-appreciated gem from the back catalogue) and the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Norgaard finishes the show for The Vaccines. They send the crowd out to the night having showed them a good time, if not one they’ll likely reflect on too much in the future.
The Vaccines Photo Gallery
Photos: Kieran Frost