The Vaccines at The Joiners on Tuesday 22nd January by Sam Skilton
There are only so many rock and roll concerts that can ever be remembered and referred to in the future as being truly historic. But after a freezing cold midwinter night in Southampton, a tiny venue called The Joiners will forever be able to make that claim.
From the word go, yesterday evening (22nd January) was guaranteed to be something special for a select group of 150 music fans, either fortunate, or utterly determined to be a part of it. When it was announced a week previously that The Vaccines would be performing a special benefit gig for the financially struggling venue, such was the demand for tickets that it caused the website to crash.
A day later at 7pm, hundreds of people queued up outside The Joiners in the hope that they might manage to snap up one of the remaining tickets. Fortunately, we managed to get our hands on one of the final few.
As a result, the crowd was an eclectic mix. Ranging from the young to the old; from the local to a couple of Czech girls who had travelled all the way from London just to be there to see one of their favourite bands, every single person who crammed into the miniscule building had one thing in common. That was to ensure that this very special concert would never be forgotten.
The Joiners may have played host to big names in the past, but this was a whole different scenario. While the likes of Oasis, Coldplay, Green Day, Manic Street Preachers and The Libertines have all played at the venue in the process of developing into some of the most popular bands in modern day rock music, The Vaccines are most certainly at their peak.
Having recently been nominated alongside Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Muse and The Rolling Stones as the Best Live Act at this year’s Brit Awards, they are due to play in front of 20,000 people at London’s O2 Arena later this year.
All the more incredible was the fact that to get to the stage, the band had to emerge from the upstairs dressing room and through the crowd, which had been pushing, shoving and jostling for the best position to see the stage for at least twenty minutes beforehand.
Southampton based punk band Our Time Down Here had kicked the night off, and although their hardcore gothic rock was unsurprisingly a little too Bring Me The Horizon for this crowd, they seemed content with having played a part in saving The Joiners.
They were followed by Hares from Shepherd’s Bush – although given the impressive barnets on display, maybe ‘Hairs’ would have been more appropriate. Frontman Robb Skipper beamed out to the audience from more or less the moment he clambered up onto the stage, and they took kindly to his enthusiasm and the bubbly, melodic indie-tunes which came with it.
Before long anticipation for the main event had grown, and the temperature had risen to near Saharan heat – a stark contrast from the near Arctic conditions outside.
The Vaccines were a few minutes later on stage than scheduled, and required escorting through the crowd which had packed into the little venue like sardines in a tin.
Having emerged in jackets, so intense was the humidity that it took just a couple of tracks before they removed them. Freddie Cowan ditched his trademark sleeveless denim outfit to reveal a ‘White Riot’ t-shirt, asserting him as embodiment of retro and confirming his punk inspirations, while Justin Young had opted for one from the band’s own clothing range.
‘No Hope’, the opening track on their new album ‘The Vaccines Come of Age’, set the tone for the rest of the night, and fans were soon ‘Ra Ra Ra-ing’ along to ‘Wreckin’ Bar’.
The paradoxical ‘Teenage Icon’ once again proved ironic. However much he may deny it, Justin Young was certainly an idol for many of the youngsters in the crowd, who yelled his name throughout. During the gig the frontman stressed the importance of places like The Joiners, claiming: “Without venues like this The Vaccines wouldn’t exist.”
While the set featured all of the band’s hits, album tracks ‘Ghost Town’ and ‘Wolf Pack’ proved that they can hold equally as strong a punch. After ‘Norgaard’ brought the set to its conclusion and the band had been whisked away to the confines of their dressing room, elated fans spilled out of the fire exits for some much needed fresh air.
Some left clutching drumsticks, guitar picks, setlists, or simply anything they could get their hands on to provide a memento of an unforgettable night.
Video: The Vaccines perform ‘If You Wanna’ at The Joiners
The Vaccines Setlist:
Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
A Lack of Understanding
Under Your Thumb
Post Break-Up Sex
All in White
Blow It Up
I Always Knew
If You Wanna
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