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Live Review: The Vaccines at The Hippodrome, Kingston (28/05/2015)


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With their third studio album having launched this week and a string of festival dates around the globe awaiting them this summer, the Vaccines decided to go a little more low key Thursday night with an intimate gig for new slang at the Hippodrome in Kingston Upon Thames.

The venue was clearly sold out and felt almost beyond capacity as rowdy gig goers spent two hours crammed like sardines, trying to gradually edge their way closer to the stage. With no need for a support act and without so little as an introduction, after what seemed like a lifetime of waiting, the band strolled coolly and confidently onto the stage. Unfazed by the roar of the drunken crowd, the quartet quietly picked up their instruments and tore straight into a seemingly perfect rendition of ‘Handsome’, the first track of new release ‘English Graffiti’.

The ensemble clearly have an incredible stage presence and the manner in which they aloofly strolled out from the backstage had the crowd instantly under their spell. The confident swagger of the group is a stark contrast to 2012’s fame-shy claim to be ‘no teenage icon’. The fan favourite was predictably played at the Hippodrome, but frontman Justin Young’s claim to be “nobody’s hero” seemingly no longer holds true, judging by the constant cheering, screaming and mosh-pitting of his adoring fans.

Hailed by the press as the new “saviours of guitar bands” shortly after they stepped onto the scene back in 2010; much of the Vaccine’s repertoire continues to give off a retro vibe that harks back to the golden days of rock n’ roll. The Kingston audience loved the fast paced old favourites carefully hand picked from the band’s past material. Whilst the latest material didn’t fail to get the crowd moving as they awkwardly tried to remember the words, the likes of ‘Norgaard’ and ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ had the whole room gleefully singing along at the top of their lungs. The once reluctant teenage icons now carry an air of unbridled confidence, almost to the point of seeming cocky, although who can blame them when they manage to control a crowd so effortlessly? Rock n’ Roll and humility have never gone hand in hand and so one cannot expect the Vaccines to start playing down their own success and popularity.

Justin Young recently revealed to NME that he dreams the Vaccines will one day be as big as the like of U2 and the Rolling Stones. It would be easy to accuse Young of simply feeding his own ego, an ego that could quite clearly be seen from the crowd on Thursday night.

Despite this dream perhaps being an overly ambitious one, setting their ambitions high seems to be doing the Vaccines no harm, with their drive and passion shining through clearly in their live performances. Perhaps unlike U2 or the Stones, Vaccines have always been a band of simple pleasures, and this show was no exception. The tracks were fast paced and frenetic and the climatic ‘wrecking bar’ had the crowd hitting fever pitch. Whilst they may never sell out entire stadiums like their idols, the Vaccines will always know how to perfectly storm the local circuit.

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