The meteoric rise of The Vaccines has caused a lot of buzz. Last week they flew to America to play a string of dates, with members of Blondie, Arctic Monkeys, and Local Natives in attendance alongside the music press and the occasional film star (Jake Gyllenhaal). It’s unusual for bands to go (within weeks) from playing UK pub gigs to headlining LA’s Spaceland and New York’s Bowery Ballroom.
Ironically, perhaps it’s the pressure of so much expectation that enabled the band to relax on their return to the UK, with singer Justin Young calling the gig at KCL’s Student’s Union a “homecoming show”. Young’s connection with the venue goes deeper than being a London resident; as he mentioned in the gig, it was only “six months ago that I was a History student here”. Certainly the crowd made the band feel welcome and the set opener ‘Wreckin’ Bar’, a 90 second blast of blistering pop with its singalong phrase of “Ra Ra Ra” and Freddie Cowan’s surfy guitar solo, got everyone warmed up quickly. On the strength of the crowd’s reception to this Young declared, “something tells me that it’s going to be a good night”.
He wasn’t wrong. The audience sang along enthusiastically to the few songs that have been released. ‘If You Wanna’, the track that launched the band’s profile via the internet, and the current single ‘Post Break Up Sex’ saw the crowd jumping and waving their arms with vigour at Young. But even the b-side ‘We’re Happening’ and unreleased tracks like ‘All in White’, ‘A Lack of Understanding’ and ‘Norgaard’ had many fans joining in with their hooky choruses.