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the Vaccines at Amoeba on Monday June 6th, 2011

There were a few Strokes logo on t-shirts and iPhones, and a lot of young girls in the crowd which had lined up very early in front of Amoeba records to see The Vaccines doing an in-store performance on Monday night. There are two kinds of shows at Amoeba, the ones when people can enter and find a place wherever they want, and the popular ones, when you have to line up outside waiting to be placed by the employees. The Vaccines show was definitively one of these.

How come? How many shows these guys have played in the US? Probably not a lot, I know they played a show at Spaceland in LA at the beginning of this year, a show attended by Hollywood celebs such as Jack Gyllenhaal (should we blame Jennie Lewis for this? I heard she was there too).
 

But somewhat they have been building their reputation on some preconceived idea of what young energetic rock music should sound like. People are gonna say it’s all about the hype, yes, but it’s fast, it’s short, it’s catchy, so what’s wrong with that?

The fact that their stop at Amoeba was one of their last LA shows for some time presented a real attraction, and the British band was still promoting their interestingly entitled debut album ’What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?’, only released on May 31st in the US, via Columbia Records.

What did you expect? Their songs are direct and simple, straightforward but interesting and distinct enough from one to another, accomplishing what they are supposed to. There is no effort to make in order to like The Vaccines, they sound like many other good bands of the past and the instantaneous familiarity of their music may be a sort of guilty pleasure you have no reason to feel guilty about.

The quartet did an eight-song set at Amoeba, rushing from one song to the next, since most of them are very short, with singer Justin Young’s presence filling up the stage, alternatively walking from Árni Hjörvar on bass to Freddie Cowan on guitar, sometimes taking the mic without his guitar in hands, being the main attraction, commanding the stage with confidence. There gave a little of the Beach-Boys-meet-the-Ramones with their propulsive ‘Wreckin’ Bar’, or ‘Nørgaard’, or ‘If You Wanna’, that they had to restart due to some technical problem.
And Justin, was the stripped shirt a way to get a little bit closer to your vague resemblance to a young Brian Wilson?

No, I was definitively not hearing the Strokes, the sound is less fuzzy and the Vaccines bring an intricate mix of diverse influences with a strong desire to go back to the sources of rock’ n’ roll. Their presence was completely unassuming despite the already mentioned hype; and if it is trendy to do some bashing when so much publicity has been done, I won’t certainly do any, all their songs filled up people's brains with exhilarating energy,… especially that song, ‘Post Break-Up Sex’,… ‘Post break-up sex/That helps you forget your ex/What did you expect from post break up sex?’, funny and realistic, not your usual ‘Sex on Fire’.

Setlist:
Blow It Up
Post Break-Up Sex
Wreckin' Bar
A Lack of Understanding
If You Wanna
Wolf Pack
We are happening
Nørgaard

 

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