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Concert Review | Vaccines headline great concert in Boston

Band showcases original style at Paradise Rock Club

Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 01:02

The Vaccines are the UK’s best−kept secret. Hitting fourth on album charts across the pond in 2011 with their debut studio album, confidently titled, “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?,” they made their indie rock sound an incontrovertible part of Britain’s club scene.

Headlining at the Paradise Rock Club on Jan. 29, the Vaccines joined the company of The Police and Tom Petty who began their careers headlining at the venue. Their 1950’s−style rock and roll has postmodern kids in jean jackets tossing back their parted fades and social swing dancing.

With all the catchy melodies, guitar riffs and recognizable forms that remind you of indie hits like the Strokes, the Vaccines encapsulate adolescent anger the same way the Ramones and the Misfits did during the punk revival. They are single−handedly reinvigorating a musical scene devoid of definition and in need of new direction.

There are no frills, no theatrics. With Justin Young playing vocals and second guitar, Arni Arnason on bass, Freddie Cowan playing lead guitar and Pete Robertson on drums, they are a standard four−piece band, an idea that seems to have been forgotten. Their live performance lacks no entertainment, however. Instead of additional theatrics, classic tricks like having the set list down to a science, blending guitar riffs and including variance in show tempo made their seventeen−song set feel minimalistic. Their pacing was superb. Opening upbeat, they settled into their sweeping, more cadent tunes “Wetsuit” and “All In White.” Ending aggressively with their two−minute track “Nrd,” the framing was evident; it was meant to replicate the band’s style.

The crowd was heavily set between kids in their late teens and folks in their early thirties, though the Vaccines’ audience clearly has its own distinguished style. There’s a certain look at a Vaccines show that the young pull off −− clean cut and devoid of brand names.

For better or worse, any Vaccines show will probably be a sing−along, dance−until−the−music−stops affair that will leave lyrically iconic sounds ringing between your ears and whistling past your teeth. The Vaccines are infectious and high energy on stage in ways few bands still have passion to replicate.

Few bands are attempting the style The Vaccines have already trademarked. Universally, independent music is becoming more and more clearly dictated to popular audiences. At some point, people started deciding to go with the format rather than fulfill a vision. This is something the Vaccines have always refused to do. That’s not to say modern independent work is bad — that would be far from the truth — but it is to say that very few artists are all that distinguishable anymore.

It’s just predictable. It’s on the radio. It’s on your iPod. You’d probably feel comfortable playing it at parties. That’s why you like it. The Vaccines will make you feel differently. You’ll want to play them at parties because they’re doing something innovative and people will recognize that. They will be what Albert Hammond Jr. was to the 1990’s. They’re part of a ‘50s and ‘60s throwback music movement that you haven’t heard about yet. Cross−reference The Postelles for a better idea of what you’re missing.

It remains to be seen as to whether or not the Vaccines’ US tour will have them playing through car stereos anytime soon. It is apparent that they are the leaders of a new style within independent music that few bands have ventured to experiment with in modern music. The ground floor of the future of indie music is priced at roughly fifteen dollars, making it well worth getting in on.

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