LIVE REVIEW: The Vaccines, Eventim Apollo London, 21/04/22
Commanders of the London indie-rock scene, The Vaccines are masters of the art of mixing memorable melodies combined with some of the catchiest stadium sized choruses for the past ten years. With the release of their all-time great debut album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, the firm indie favourites have held this title, releasing a further four full-lengths in Come Of Age, English Graffiti, Combat Sports and Back In Love City and live this band are more than just firm indie favourites. They are a class act through and through and tonight’s show down at the swanky Eventim Apollo showcasing said fifth full-length Back In Love City proves that, and provided some pure infectious jubilation. What else did you expect from The Vaccines live after all?
Brighton-based Black Honey have always been a band centred around dramatics and theatrics throughout their storytelling music. Starting out in the scene back in 2014 as an excitingly eccentric four-piece, Black Honey burst into alternative music with their own brand of signature guitar sounds and wild western aesthetics, showcased on their dazzling self-titled debut album, released in 2018. Since then, this bad-ass band has gone onto becoming a big, bold and brave outfit in UK indie music. With their fiery sophomore album Written & Directed, Izzy B. Phillips, Chris Ostler, Tommy Taylor and Alex Woodward show no signs of slowing down their ascent to convey the cinematic vision and their supporting slot opening up for The Vaccines brought their strong artistic vision and sonic aesthetics alive in full colour. 9/10
With their fifth record Back In Love City, The Vaccines catapulted the fictional concept of a dystopian movie dreamworld, full of human emotion with flavours from the States, spanning a dynamic thirteen track line-up on the bands most visionary body of work to date. Bringing such a strong visionary album to the main stage requires the sonics to match and this London guitar driven five piece are proving a point here with set opener Wanderlust. That they can do it to absolute perfection with enormous riffs and the stomping zest of life all included in the price the packed out Eventim Apollo paid for their tickets.
Breaking up the strong Back In Love City centric set, Post Break-Up Sex is a staple amongst The Vaccines back catalogue and an anthem for all the broken-hearted out for a rebound, to distract from the emotional turmoil of a failed relationship and has been for the best part of over a decade and will remain on go to heartbreak playlists for many more. Live, the song is a unified sing-a-long “Post break-up sex/That helps you forget your ex” with vocalist Justin Young’s woozy tone and alluring attitude never letting this anthem die.
Getting some instant classics performed to please those just there to witness the hits or those who have been with The Vaccines since day dot, new material comes again courtesy of the band’s latest LP Back In Love City and surprise new EP Planet Of The Youth. From the more sombre moments of the evening reflected in El Paso to the infectiously cheesy pop bop that is Headphones Baby and the high energy drive of a certain Disaster Girl to the ever-bouncing Jump Off Top, The Vaccines presented a perfectly poised balance between their reliable crowd winners and completely new cuts all done with style, magnetism and musicianship.
For the grand finale though, this is where the bands 2011 selves had time to shine. If You Wanna sounds like the best karaoke song, one that could rival the undeniable popularity of Sweet Caroline, whereas closer All In White injects one final dose of exhilaration for a set that was exactly that start to finish.
Written by: Katie Conway-Flood
Photo Credit: Jack Delve