Crowd Control: The Vaccines at Terminal 5

February 01, 2013 12:00 AM

In no-nonsense rock 'n' roll style The Vaccines ascended the Terminal 5 stage at 10 pm Thursday storming straight into 'No Hope'. The new song, the opening track on their new album Come of Age was met with an eruption of energy from their eager young fans, singing along as if it was already a classic. This is the Vaccines first headline tour of America. They supported Arctic Monkeys on their 2011 North American, introducing the band to the endless roads and touring opportunities the States has to offer. If Thursday’s gig is any indication, The Vaccines are no one’s supporting act. 

'Wrecking Bar', the second song of the night, boasted a length of 1 minute and 24 seconds and introduced a catchy 50's sound led by Freddie Cowan, their lead guitarist. Freddie, clad in double-denim, took to the front of the stage inducing outcries from the girls in the audience, Freddie you stud.

The backdrop of the stage, an inverse negative image of their Come of Age cover was captivating and timelessly cool.  The artwork, from their second studio album in as many years, shows a black and white photo of four girls, wearing ripped and distressed denim and simple white tee-shirts, posing as boys. Imagine if S.E. Hinton's Outsiders characters were actually four young girls named Ponyboy or Dallas, this artwork would have been the book's cover.

Sixth on the set-list was the single 'Teenage Icon'. Now the band may not be teenagers nor consider themselves icons but there were definitely a lot of teenage girls in awe.  One felt so compelled that she ran up on stage, dancing till she was escorted off. After all, doesn’t the entire female population between the ages of 18 and 26 lust after rock stars? It's when they hit 27 that they want the banker.

Lead singer Justin Young sported double denim. But those of us in the galleries could not keep our eyes off his white socks-loafers combination. This is quite clearly a new era for punk. Thirty-five minutes into the set, the band was already through nine songs. This is The Vaccines trademark, and testimony to their punk rock credentials. No talking between songs just short, bold, and straight to the point.

The Vaccines have really carved a sound of their own but you can hear where it's come from. Young's vocal melodies nod to more contemporary bands like The Strokes and their tight driving rhythm section of Pete Robertson and Árni Arnason harks back to The Ramones. Once described as a hype band, the boys have worked hard to eschew the label. They're prolific with output, tour relentlessly, they're great song-writers and quality musicians, the packed Terminal 5 was only another testament to this legacy.

The hypnotic 'Ghost Town' is one of their heavier tunes. Its haunting melody and lyrics and persistent bass riff brought a welcome change in mood and mixed up the set before the band went into their older songs. The boys started closing the show with their more famous hits from their debut album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines, such as sing-a-longs tracks like 'Blow It Up' and 'If You Wanna'.

Pete came out alone for the encore and flexed his skills with a 30 second drum solo which slipped straight into 'Bad Mood', the penultimate song. Justin spoke a few words thanking the crowd for coming, confessing “It blows our minds how many of you there are here.” They ended the set with 'Norgaard' and the crowd went crazy.

 

 

by Susan Margaret 

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