The Vaccines review: Indie rock's fightback kicks off right here – Evening Standard

The closure of NME last month was another blow to indie rock bands, whose singles are now conspicuously absent from the Top 40. 

It’s a music scene in creative and commercial decline, though you wouldn’t have known it from the giddy reaction to The Vaccines at the weekend. Justin Young, leaner and fitter than in recent years, led from the front as The Vaccines set a blistering pace with half a dozen tunes in the first 20 minutes. 

When fans chanted along to Wetsuit, Young smacked himself in the head for antic emphasis. Meanwhile, Freddie Cowan held his guitar aloft as if to signal their return to raucous indie and garage rock on comeback album Combat Sports.

Having ditched their previous record’s studio trickery, the new songs fitted seamlessly into this set. Hedonistic tune Nightclub was immediately followed by frantic debut single Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra), while the radio-friendly Your Love is My Favourite Band was neatly paired with nearly-hit Melody Calling from 2013.

Such crowd-pleasing consistency meant there was little sense of progression over four albums. But, as The Vaccines raced through a succession of febrile anthems, that felt like a problem for another day.

“If you don’t know the words to this song, you’re in the wrong room,” said Young of Post Break-up Sex. Of course, everyone sang along and leaped around to the dumb-but-fun favourite that remains the band’s biggest hit.

For an hour or so at least, 10,000 fans could believe that the indie rock revival is just around the corner.


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