The Vaccines @ Manchester Academy, 9 Apr

The Vaccines' infectious indie-rock turns the Academy into a whirlwind of high-energy partying and indie bangers

Live Review by Pete Wild | 13 Apr 2018

One of the benefits of going to see The Vaccines is that, for the space of 90 minutes or so, you’re 20 years old. You can’t help it – you might stand there as five blokes wander on to the stage to rapturous applause, sneering about how they look like we’ve caught them on the way to the golf club. You might even not altogether warm to their opening salvo, Nightclub, but then Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) hits and Manchester Academy is, for around three minutes, a gigantic dance asylum of people throwing terrible shapes.

It’s possible, as that song ends, that certain people might shake their head and think WTF… Or they would if The Vaccines didn’t follow it up with Teenage Icon, as the world within the Academy walls sings along as if lives depend on it. Dream Lover plays and a snarky sentence regarding the fact that The Vaccines appear to have ditched their leather jacket look slowly circles. Only they choose to follow Dream Lover with Wetsuit, and everybody loves Wetsuit. There's audience participation on the scale of a Robbie Williams concert; people sit upon other people’s shoulders.

You can’t help but wonder – how can The Vaccines possibly throw away such indie bangers so early in the set? It's because they have dozens of the suckers. You thought Wetsuit went down well? Here’s Melody Calling. You thought Melody Calling got them giddy? Jesus, strap yourself in for a Post Break-Up Sex / Nørgaard double header. And so it goes on building. If You Wanna; No Hope; All in White. Banger after banger after banger.

The Vaccines are a machine of entertainment – all they want is for people to leave having had a good time. They chuck in a bunch of tracks from the new record, Combat Sports – songs that are already met by a chorus of approval, a couple of thousand yet-to-be-fully-formed lungs hollering all of the words.

It doesn’t matter whether The Vaccines are your favourite band or not. It doesn’t even matter whether you think The Vaccines aren’t quite as sophisticated as your favourite band. Because they are not worrying about you; they are having a great time. And all of the people along for the ride would tell you: they are doing a fucking amazing job of it.