The Vaccines at Triple Rock Social Club, 2/9/13
Courtesy of the artist
with San Cisco and France Camp
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Let's get something straight: the Vaccines will most likely never win a Grammy award. That said, it will hardly ever matter. The Vaccines will forever be able to say they picked up some instruments and were able to drive rooms full of people to the brink of insanity at the end of their run. Saturday's show at the Triple Rock might just be one of the shows they reminisce about 50 years from now, as well.
They began their set improbably with their new hit "No Hope," from last year's Come of Age, breaking an unspoken rule to which touring bands usually adhere: never open with the new single. But the Vaccines quickly blew that rule and its reasons for existence (people won't stay for the whole show, you can't top the draw of the new song, etc.) right out of the water as they followed it up with "Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)" from 2011's What Did You Expect From ghe Vaccines? and "Tiger Blood," the B-side to "Wetsuit," which itself surfaced just a few minutes later. The show was not even twenty minutes old and already there had twice been crowd surfing (a theme that would continue almost literally until the very last second of the set). There's nothing quite like snotty, loud, hook-filled, two-minute long punk songs to get the blood flowing and elevate your mood about four notches, after all.
Lead singer/guitarist Justin Young's vocals were low in the mix, which seemed odd, especially for a Triple Rock show, where the vocals are sometimes almost deafening, but it became clear after a few songs that it was so the crowd could sing along to every word of every song and, somehow, instead of this being incredibly annoying, it was exhilarating and added an extra dynamic to the show. Given the Triple Rock's close quarters on the main floor and the fact the front of the crowd is nearly on stage at sold out shows like Saturday's was, that very subtle move essentially made the crowd the fifth member of the band and once the crowd became aware of this, the voices became louder and more numerous. The only drawback was the squealing girls -- and there were many, as the Vaccines are quite photogenic -- between songs the sound of which often contained a piercing quality that could have made you long for the sound of nails on a chalkboard.
Young offered a best-of-both-worlds act from stage depending on if he was playing guitar, wherein he was a workhorse who hit all of his notes promptly and correctly or if was just singing, wherein he grabbed the microphone from its stand, manically ran around the stage and often stood on the monitors, belting out the lyrics in a fantastic, haphazard manner, jamming the mic into the crowd every so often for a showgoer to finish a passage. "Post Break-Up Sex," "All in White," and "Change of Heart, Pt. 2" showcased the phenomenon at it's best. Watching Young between songs, it was almost like he flipped an internal switch to power up or down, depending on what he needed for the next song -- it was quite a neat trick. "All in White" also found one fan jumping onstage to a chorus of cheers from the well-oiled crowd, only to jump back off at the last second as one of the stagehands tried to wrap him up to no avail.
The hour-long show ended with "Bad Mood" and "Nørgaard," the latter of which finally found guitarist Freddie Cowan cracking a sweat--an impressive feat given the nature of the material and his non-stop pacing and occasional rock posing throughout the night. Then, just as abruptly and perfectly as the show had begun, it ended with quick "Thank you," and the sound of feedback in the monitors as the band walked off the stage. They may not be poised to collect awards and physical accolades for their work, but the Vaccines are definitely bent on taking over the world in their own way and if Saturday night was a typical indication of how things are going, they're well on their way to accomplishing that goal.
Critic's Bias: The Vaccines are a band that seems tailor-made for me to enjoy. Loud, fast, snotty, hooky punk is something of which I really can't get enough. Had this show been five hours long I would still have had a twinge of disappointment at the end of it. An hour or so--the most common running time for a rock show like this--has to be enough, though, and it has taken me a long time to train myself for that.
The Crowd: Skewed young (there were more than a few people with the telltale Xs on their hands, denoting they can't be served at the bar) and all ready to blow off some steam on a weekend where it seemed the winter doldrums had really taken hold of a lot of people. This show was a great antidote for many, it appeared.
Overheard In the Crowd: Given the average age of the crowd and the Triple Rock's proximity to campus, it was unsurprising to hear a college-age couple standing behind me alternately rip and praise a great many of their friends throughout the night. "She's a fucking bitch, but she's Ashley's roommate, so whatever." was a typical (and amusing) statement.
Notebook Dump: They [the Vaccines] have the crowd eating out of their hands and they know it.
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