The rather regal elegance of The Brighton Dome played host to The Vaccines for the first time in years on Friday night to the delight of the sold-out crowd. Following a return to form with the release of last year's album, 'Combat Sports', and a very well received tour to support it, The Vaccines are on the road again in 2019 with a renewed vigour.
Before The Vaccines took to the stage there were two support acts to entertain the ever increasing throng. Firstly, LA's Jesse Jo Stark and her band gave an impassioned, sometimes snarly and at one point despondent performance; "don't look so bored" Jesse said to the array of faces before her. The silver Spandex-clad Stark belted out a rather good cover version of the Kim Carnes classic, 'Bette Davis Eyes, and closed out with an intensely charged delivery of her biggest and best song to date 'Fire Of Love'. Sandwiched in-between JJ and Justin was Brisbane's Hatchie. The softer sound of Harriette Pilbeam seemed a bit of an odd fit for a Vaccines gig but she played a great bass, imparted her love for Brighton and The Dome, and performed a few choice tunes along the way, including 'Bad Guy', 'Try' and a very polished rendition of 'Sure'.
With the removal of the stage curtain in a fashion akin to a virgin camper trying to pack away his tent in a hurry, the potted palm and foil bunting adorned stage was set for the headline act. With a few excited screams and rapturous applause, The Vaccines entered stage left and tore into a fully loaded set. Opening with a track from their latest album 'Your Love Is My Favourite Band' and following it up with a brilliantly balanced and very much appreciated 'Teenage Icon', The Vaccines were immediately into a groove that would last the night through. The energy and impetus of the set was very rarely interrupted making for a thrilling night with barely a moment to catch a breath.
Hit after hit came to the obvious pleasure of the enthusiastic assemblage; the mosh-pit ebbed and flowed in suitably symbiotic waves to the velocity of each track and there was a couple of obligatory sing-a-longs that captured a crowd in very good voice. The frenzied brevity of 'Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)' headed up one of many set highlights in the form of 'Wetsuit'. Before breaking into the song, Justin explained, "I think it's important before we start this next song that I tell you how much I love you. Actually, mildly relevant that a couple of months ago I took a DNA test hoping I might be part Russian Jew or part Chilean aristocracy and actually I'm seventy eight percent South-East England, so we're family right? And you know what families do? Yeah they sing together guys". Hearing the entire Brighton Dome singing the opening words as the first chords were struck was a near religious, extremely joyous experience. The percussively-led Vaccines staple sounded superb as it rang out around the Brighton Dome.
A pumped up 'Norgaard' and beautifully measured 'Post Break-Up Sex' saw no let up in the feverish set before Justin and his band performed a relatively new, but nonetheless set worthy, song 'Let's Jump Off The Top'. If there was anything that came even close to being mildly disappointing, it was when Justin, acoustic guitar in hand, started to sing 'Young American'; arguably one of the best tracks on 'Combat Sports'. Disappointing because we only got to hear the first verse and no more before The Vaccines burst in to 'Take It Easy' from the same album. As the main set drew to a close, two more tracks from their latest full length release - the album name checking and ever building 'Rolling Stones' and the super-charged 'I Can't Quit' - were split by a first album favourite 'If You Wanna'.
The Vaccines played a three-song encore that started with a rousing 'No Hope' and ended with a terrific 'All In White'. It seemed no time at all since the band had taken to the stage to begin their gig, but twenty songs had indeed been and gone. It was a run-through of The Vaccines' career highlights delivered at break-neck speed, showcasing a fantastic back catalogue of indie infused power-pop and it was very, very impressive.
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