Firstly, we should get one thing straight – it was brief, and blurry.
I’ll start at the beginning. We headed to the HMV Institute, which I can honestly say is one of the best small venues I’ve visited in the country. It’s almost like a smaller version of the Apollo in Manchester, but with a wrap-around balcony and ornate stylings that just exude class and heritage. Class is probably a good place to start with this band; it’s something that is getting them a fair bit of stick.
The first time I heard their debut tracks, I loved them. I was excited. I didn’t bloody shut up about them. I played them back to back on the radio. At this point I didn’t care at all about who they were, where they were from, or what their background was. However, a dear friend had told me to disregard them; ‘posh little rich kids’ apparently. Needless to say I ignored him, and eventually he too began to enjoy the light-hearted, guitar driven, future classics (Hmm.. ) Despite only releasing one song, they were on the cover of NME as “The return of the Great British Guitar Band”; Zane Lowe declared them “a band that will kickstart a new era”. I convinced myself that they were the future, and that indie rock and roll was saved. Excited didn’t cut it.
So, upon seeing a member of the band outside the venue in the bar next door’s smoking area, I jumped at my chance. It was nice to see that most people walked past not noticing who he was – I wouldn’t have noticed myself if it wasn’t for a keen eyed Vaccines fan pointing him out. We had a brief chat and all was pleasant and lovely, handshakes and the like. What struck me though was how this experience contrasted so hugely from my other experiences of bands, namely The View. My highlight of that experience had to be Kieran (bass player) hammering the quiz machine in the Horse and Jockey prior to the gig, and afterwards kicking pint glasses across the street. So, feeling slightly non-plussed, we headed on into the Institute.
Expectations were definitely high, but would The Vaccines live up to them?
In short, No.
But they did everything right. The songs were great – musically tight, and they carried across all the energy from the album. The crowd interaction was good, more than you’d expect from a band in its infancy. In fact I’m quite sure they probably said more than Peter Doherty did both times I saw BabyShambles put together. They were only on stage for 45 minutes, but given the album is only around 35 minutes long they did well to drag it out. From what I could see, the crowd enjoyed it, mostly.
But to me it felt a bit like watching a covers or tribute band. I’ve been a huge fan of The Vaccines since hearing the initial demo of ‘If You Wanna’, which I still think is a fantastic track – especially the album version with the tommy-gun style intro drums (see The Clash – Tommy Gun), and the heavy retro bass riff (see Joy Division – Transmission) and the superb flowing chorus (see The Beach Boys – well, most of their songs). Wreckin’ Bar and Norgaard lift the 3-chord progression that was pioneered by the early punk rock bands, with Ramones springing to mine.
All in all, a solid 5/10. Definitely enjoyable, and definitely good fun, and worth the tenner paid for the ticket. But everything they’ve been made out to be? Based upon this performance it seems we’re being sold one thing, when in reality it is something quite different.
As for me, The Tom Davies Show won’t be back until the 7th May due to the Easter break, which means there are only a few shows left on Storm FM for me until September. I’ll do my best to make sure they’re damn good though! The summer break won’t stop me either; I’m delighted to confirm that I’ll be presenting for Calon FM, which can be found on 105FM in the Wrexham area.
I’ll leave you with some new music that I think has to be checked out;
- The Pigeon Detectives – Up Guards and At ‘Em! We haven’t heard from the Pigeon Detectives since 2008 when their infectious brand of Indie Rock was hugely popular and led to some big festival slots. They were a must-see band back then and I can imagine they will be now too, but make what you will of this new album. After a few listens I’m really enjoying it, but my initial thoughts were that they’d lost some of the gusto that they used to have. Definitely a grower. http://www.thepigeondetectives.com/
- Glasvegas – Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\ Bizarre album title aside, this album is magnificent. The addition of a dedicated drummer has allowed their sound to reach new heights, and James Allan has proved he has what it takes to mix it with the best. Every note on this album feels earned, from the throbbing drums in ‘The World Is Yours’ to the uplifting and anthemic ‘Euphoria, Take My Hand’. These songs can stand side by side with the classics from the self titled debut album and match them punch for punch all the way. www.glasvegas.net/
- The View – Bread and Circuses. Another Scottish band, and another bizarre album title. The boys from Dundee have done it again. The first album was good, and the second album better (despite sounding a bit like it’d been snorted through a fiver), and the third is possibly the album they’ll be remembered for. Not a bad track on it, opening brilliantly with ‘Grace’ and heading down paths that we haven’t seen really seen from these lads before, particularly on ‘Life’. Other highlights include ‘Blondie’ and ‘Best Lasts Forever’, and I suppose that time will tell. www.theviewareonfire.com/
- Jon Fratelli – The Magic Hour. Even more Scots! Not exactly new, but this EP is available to download for free from Jon’s website. It gives us all of what we loved about The Fratelli’s and more, and if his solo career can sustain this level of quality we’ll be hearing a lot more from this man. ‘Part Man Part Myth Part Time’ is my favourite from this, and can only make me wonder what could have been from his previous band. All you need to do is sign up to his mailing list and the tracks are you. http://www.jonfratelli.co.uk/
Until next time;