“Put a wetsuit on, come on, come on.”
Sage advice from Vaccines frontman Justin Young as a tidal wave of sweat and lager threatens to submerge an already sodden Manchester Albert Hall.
Watching The Vaccines is an exercise in extreme cardio. Their set only makes it just past the hour mark but by the end of it bedraggled early 20-somethings cling to each over while the older ones (me) gasp for air.
The band are currently embarking on a sell-out tour of the UK’s more intimate venues in order to road test new material ahead of upcoming album “English Graffiti”.
Venues like the Albert Hall are tailor made for The Vaccines. They will undoubtedly revert back to arena status later in the year but there’s something gloriously chaotic and claustrophobic about seeing them give it their all in the stunning former chapel.
“I’m not magnetic or mythical, I’m suburban and typical” states Young during “Teenage Icon”. A typical, run-of the mill, working class indie rock band they may look but there’s no denying The Vaccines’ magnetism.
“Post Break-Up Sex” and “If I Wanna” suck the crowd in, every single word fervidly repelled back. The rousing “All In White” is another highlight as is the unashamedly fun “Ghost Town” and of course is festival fanfare “Wetsuit”.
“English Graffiti” comes outs on May 25th and will be the band’s third album. “Handsome” harnesses the sort of infectious, happy-go-lucky rock ‘n’ roll offering that made them so radio friendly but the more thoughtful, groove laden “Dream Lover”, reminiscent of AM-era Arctic Monkeys, does demonstrate a broadening of horizons.
Breathers are few and far between and by the time the band race through the riotous pop punk closer “Norgaard”, I’m more than regretting ridiculously large chilli dog I’d wolfed down pre-gig.
Young finishes up with the exclamation: “We are The Vaccines, we were The Vaccines, we will always be The Vaccines.”
But what I think he’s really trying to say is: “If you’re seeing us again soon, bring a wetsuit... and maybe an inhaler.”