What I Expected from the Vaccines?

By Jamie Burnett, BA Journalism and Media 

With the melancholy of Morrissey mixed with the spirit of the Ramones, the Vaccines have stormed the Indie market and my record shelf, so they must be doing something right? Some would say that four chords and a catchy chorus is the lazy musician’s formula to selling records, it’s the quick and easy way to catapult into the mainstream many would rant.  

The thought of a long haired lad whining about his triumphs and troubles of young adulthood could leave many with a sour impression of self-indulgence, but for me The Vaccines have managed to assemble a catalogue of records that speak volumes. Let’s take a look at why these four pieces have settled into my heart, and ears. 

It all has to begin somewhere and it only took one and a half minutes. My initial introduction to the Vaccines was brief; it slammed its way through my headphones, chewed me up and spat me to the floor. Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) is the first song of the band’s first album What Did You Expect from The Vaccines, the song gritty rendition that leaves one with impression that the band tore a page out of the pop punk bible and stapled it to the studio wall, worshipping the teachings every time they plugged in.  

I flirted with their albums like some over enthusiastic chap on a first date, full of excitement and a dose of anticipation. Was this to be a brief encounter? Or was this just a phase, similar to the one I had with S Club 7 during the early 2000s? 

Of course not, the days of cheesy high school pop have long left my CD collection and have been replaced by mild cheddar college pop. It was early 2015 when I actually saw them for myself, I woke one morning with planning to sit around and waste the day in the early summer heat. Cut to an hour later and I found myself scrambling for copies of Shortlist magazine as it was brought to my attention that if I had a copy I would be allowed entry to a free, one off gig with the Vaccines in Holborn. 

A rush of blood to the head and a craving to attend one of the most intimate gigs in London sent me into frenzy, calling friends to look out for copies and rushing from one tube station to another. I do believe that I showed more ambition than Charlie Bucket, my golden ticket was far more rewarding than a visit to an Oompa-Loompa labour camp run by a sinister chap in a velvet suit.  

About five minutes away from Holborn tube station the band were tuning up on the second floor of the Rugby Tavern as a small crowd of fans gathered eagerly outside hoping for a chance to get in and mosh away. We were lucky enough to have got there relatively early, we were able to relax in the cue as the warm afternoon beamed down on us as we held overpriced pints. Not long after we were ushered into the venue and given flimsy wristbands which confirmed our entrance, fist bump the air. 

Storming the stage during the band’s Blitzkrieg Pop- inspired Norgaard sent bodies colliding and left the band’s engineer with the impossible task of ensuring that their equipment remained intact. The sound would casually mute as leads fell from guitars as people stamped round, at the same time microphones were stolen from their stands as people relished in the chance to become part of the bands amateur backing choir. I felt like I was at the most realistic karaoke bar out there where you got to sing with the band themselves as spilt pints drenched your head. 

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Covered in sweat we stumbled out of the venue passing the crowd of people who didn’t manage to get in, riddled with adrenaline and slight guilt we couldn’t contain our excitement. If there was any live introduction to a band this was the perfect one, a collection of hits and a raw energy that could only be replicated in such an intimate setting.  

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The dust settled and the wild winds of the gig gave way to a breeze as I stood on the Holborn platform, the train ride home seemed to float by. 

The gathering of a small group of strangers with a mutual interest seemed to strike me as I reflected on the day's events. Surrounded by people who when they venture to work or school found themselves scrolling right down to the letter ‘V’ on their iPod's to help them escape reality for a while was refreshing. It seems that music can provide a playground where people can come together and share a love for one thing, a love that can be transferable across all genres and music styles. 

Communities are formed and identities are shaped in venues across the country in the same way relationships are formed over coffee dates and cocktails. We've seen that sub-cultures can be formed through music meaning there is no limit to what can be created when you plug in a guitar or turn up the radio. I guess what I'm trying to say is get to know your sound because you may find a home away from home, or you can be daring a build your own one brick by noisy brick. I'll let you make that decision.