I’m always a bit nervous about seeing a band on tour before their album comes out. For me, part of the joy of a gig is that communal feeling of all singing along together. You can’t imagine going to church and finding out that you’ll be singing new hymns.
I would also have thought it would be a bit weird for the band too. Surely one of the pleasures of playing to a sold-out crowd is having them sing every word back to you. With the album already recorded, the timing of the tour seems a little odd.
Yet here we are at Rock City, the first date on a UK jaunt. Sometimes bands can be a little rusty at the start of a tour but, following a warm-up gig in France on Wednesday, the band are in fine form. A blistering opening combo of ‘Teenage Icon’ and the Ramones-esque ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ set the scene for the rest of the gig.
We get our first new track, ‘Dream Lover’, four songs in. It’s a song that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on AM, the Arctic Monkey’s last album.
The second new song we hear, ‘Want You So Bad’, begins like The Cure and ends like early Radiohead. It’s great to hear the band expanding their sound. However, of all the new tracks, it’s current single ‘Handsome’, with its tongue in cheek claims of being “pretty, so pretty”, that goes down best with the audience.
It’s the material from the debut album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines, that really get the crowd going. A mid-set 1-2 of ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ and ‘All In White’ sees beer and bodies flying through the air.
A closing ‘If You Wanna’ sends the crowd even wilder. Yet even that is topped when they end their encore with ‘Norgaard’.
16 songs, less than an hour on stage and they’re gone. An amazing high-energy gig from a band that seem to be on the cusp of superstardom. However, when they come back to Nottingham, patrons at the Capital FM Arena will be expecting a longer performance for their £35.
Review by Gav Squires