The Vaccines, HMV, 14 March 2011

When a band plays music as energetic and snappy as Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra), there’s an assumption they’re going to be pretty raucous live. But if it kicks off in here, the result would be carnage. We stand in HMV amidst the shelves of CDs, with customers still attempting to squeeze through to browse for George Michael singles. The lights are on, and there are bouncers everywhere. It seems enthusiasm will not be tolerated.

Half an hour late, The Vaccines arrive. With serious faces and attempts not to move too much they play Wolf Pack. No one really knows this song yet, but there’s definite intrigue from this ever-growing crowd.

“I can barely look at you,” sings Justin Young, cuing fans to sing every word of Post Break-Up Sex along with him. He remains serious and almost glued to the microphone, but he sings like he means it.

Justin really gets going for If You Wanna. He seems to forget he has a microphone as he yells out the chorus with a passion that suggests he’s still emotionally raw from the events that inspired these ‘Post Break-Up’ songs.

Then it’s straight into the fireball that is Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra). Justin loses the guitar for this one, and apparently it was holding him back. The audience is moving now, in as controlled a manner as possible, and Justin storms about the stage looking fierce. He throws his head about as he again resorts to shouting the lyrics at the top of his voice to unleash his energy. It’s good to watch, but there is a desperate urge to get involved and break out of our CD-shelf prison.

The whole performance works far better when Justin can roam the stage guitar-less. Without the instrument he has more movement and more feeling. The rest of the band follow suit, dancing and playing their instruments like they’re really enjoying themselves.

There was enough energy in this performance to tear HMV apart. If it weren’t for the lights and the security, it may well have happened. If this is what The Vaccines can do in a shop, the real gigs must be a riot.

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One comment

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