The Vaccines At The Olympia Theatre – Review
The Vaccines returned to the capital on Monday night in a blaze of glory at the Olympia Theatre, accompanied by Pleasure Beach, the Belfast band on every hipster’s lips at the moment. It’s easy to see why this is the case and why they were chosen to accompany The Vaccines. With rifts not unlike Arcade Fire with a more synth-pop influence, the band managed to eloquently warm up the crowd for the headliners and leave a sense of lingering after they departed the stage.
Emerging from a plume of billowing smoke like triumphant indie-rock gods, the band opened with ‘Handsome’, easily one of the best received tracks from their latest album, English Graffiti. The crowd were immediately roused from their Monday night listlessness, the enticing lyrics seeming to seep into fans’ skins, dancing perfectly in time with the thumping track. It’s the perfect opener, lively, upbeat, entwined with the natural English wit of The Vaccines, setting a great night of music in motion.
With three studio albums to pick from, I imagine the band’s greatest challenge on the night was choosing what tracks to play, and, in fairness, they made good use of their entire discography, playing twenty-one songs that ensured the entire spectrum of their fan base was satiated. Indeed, their followers are a perfect mixture of thirty-somethings jovially swigging beer at the back whilst younger fans clamour at the front of the stage, waiting for Justin Young to pull one of his classic dance moves or mumble a sarcastic comment into the mic.
Five songs in, the band graced us with ‘Wetsuit’, from their first album What Did You Expect…? It was a welcome reminder of the band’s infectious musical beginnings as the crowd bellowed out every single line, matching Young’s steadily measured vocals perfectly. Tracks like ‘I Always Knew’ and ‘Wolf Pack’ only encouraged the audience more, arms flailing eagerly in time with the furious pulse of drums and fuzzy guitar riffs.
Arguably, one of the attractions of The Vaccines is Young’s presence on stage, the perfectly crooked smile and easy-going composure making you feel as if the band are just your college mates casually performing to a handful of close friends. There’s an effortlessness to their manner that is perfectly juxtaposed with the complexity of the lyrics and thump of their drums.
The highlight of the night came when the band performed their classic anthem, ‘If You Wanna’. The audience simply lost the run of themselves, screaming every lyric back at Young in perfect time—a testament to the band’s enthralling nature and the modern day indie/rock legacy they’ve forged.