The Vaccines at the Electric Brixton
The Vaccines are one of those bands that take people back to a certain point: back to early 2010s indie bands as soundtracks for summer. Now the music fans are returning the groove of things – back to mosh pits and intimate nights out – the nostalgic tang of this particular band is a welcome transition to something akin to normal. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Justin Hayward-Young shows up all casual in jeans and a blue tee featuring the word “love”. Behind him, the drum kit is set-up with the words “Love City”, commemorating the release of their latest record. And the take the audience Back to Love City indeed.
The band opens with Wanderlust, a light show of blues and strobe lights flashing in between. There’s a thin haze of smoke pierced by streaks of orange, as if to showcase all the wonderful effects on display for the night. A banger of an introduction, Wanderlust sets a storytelling intention for the night, with perfectly matched lyrics to open the audience up to the journey.
I Can’t Quit follows with darkness and persistent clapping from the audience, drums beating into their hearts. I Always Knew is a highlight of the night, following the same line of thought as Wanderlust. (It particularly helps to know that this song also played in an episode of New Girl when Nick and Jess started driving to who knows where after first getting together.)
Also memorable is Paranormal Romance. It starts stark white onstage, as if to evoke a ghostly presence, before other colours bleed into the performance, purple being the most prominent. Here, Hayward-Young goes all-out in terms of playing up the lyrics: he swings one of the light stands like a sword or some kind of light sabre, and he holds his hands together as if in prayer.
In general, the singer is just a joy to watch; his vocals don’t falter, only ever enhanced by the instruments that back him up. The way he leads the crowd like an orchestra with his hand gestures is brilliant, notably in the performance of All My Friends. He creates such an immersive environment. While the rest of the songs are neither particularly exciting nor boring per se, the band does end on an energetic note with Back to Love City. The journey continues,–– even as the concert-goers depart.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit The Vaccines’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Paranormal Romance here: