Tag Archives: the Vaccines


Drowners Celebrate Album Release Tomorrow at The Bowery Ballroom

January 30th, 2014

Welshman Matthew Hitt (vocals and rhythm guitar) had made a home for himself in New York City—“I like the way things are done here. I like how late everything happens”—when he began meeting like-minded musicians: Lakis Pavlou (drums), Jack Ridley III (lead guitar) and Erik Lee Snyder (bass). Together the foursome became Drowners, and they simultaneously began writing material and working on their live sound. Thanks to their first EP, Between Us Girls (stream it below)—which, filled with upbeat rock, drew comparisons to the Buzzcocks and the Kinks—they hit the road with Arctic Monkeys and the Vaccines. Their self-titled debut full-length (stream it below), just came out on Tuesday on Frenchkiss Records, and Drowners (above, in their video for “Luv, Hold Me Down”) play The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night.


Phoenix Sound Right at Home on the Big Stage at Barclays Center

October 3rd, 2013

Phoenix – Barclays Center – October 2, 2013

As the lights went dark and the video screens lit up with images of Thomas Mars and the rest of Phoenix making their way to the stage from the depths of Barclays Center, it was pretty clear how well they’ve adjusted to life as an arena band. Drenched in smoke lit blood red, Phoenix opened with the appropriate “Entertainment,” immediately followed by “Lasso” and “Lisztomania,” two of their biggest songs. If you’ve only ever heard Phoenix through your laptop speakers or headphones, you wouldn’t believe how big their six-member live show sounds.

It all begins with drummer Thomas Hedlund, whose every drum and cymbal hit came with authority, keeping the band in time as they sped through songs from their upbeat catalog (he was complemented by a keyboard/aux percussionist, which made plenty of those big beats sound even bigger). Brothers Laurent Brancowitz and Christian Mazzalai manned guitar duties, and even sneaked in some synth of their own in between their quick melodies. Mars has grown from a (perhaps) timid lead singer to one with plenty of stage presence.

The bigger venues suit Phoenix’s sound and personality extremely well, and some of their loudest songs, like “Girlfriend” with its sweeping synths, grew louder with all that space to fill. Even the laid-back throwback “Run Run Run” was supplied with an epic breakdown of an ending. The band began to close the set with “Armistice” as Mars leaned out over the crowd, and he stayed right there with them for “1901,” as well as a stripped-down, spotlit version of “Coundtown.” They finished with Mars atop a piano set up behind the sound booth—and fans trying to capture the moment promptly swarmed him. As the encore wrapped with “Rome,” Mars whispered something to Hedlund and then booked it into the crowd, carrying his wired microphone with him and personally thanking fans while the band vamped a few minutes of “Entertainment” until he crowd surfed his way back up front and invited more than 100 people to finish it all off onstage. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Chris Becker | www.artistsweetsbecker.us


You Gotta Play to Win

September 25th, 2013

PHOENIX is coming to BARCLAYS CENTER on October 2nd along with the Vaccines. ONE LUCKY WINNER will not only get two tickets to the show, but they will also get a SIGNED VINYL copy of Bankrupt.

Prize winners must pick up their vinyl the night of the show. Get your tickets now!


Mumford & Sons Revitalize Forest Hills Stadium

August 29th, 2013

Mumford & Sons – Forest Hills Stadium – August 28, 2013

Clouds sat heavily over Forest Hills Stadium last night as thousands of concertgoers filled the seats and standing room of the historic venue to see Mumford & Sonsthe Vaccines and Bear’s Den for the venue’s first concert since 1997. We couldn’t have cared less about the raindrops falling throughout the night, as this inaugural show since the stadium’s reopening was going down in music history. Excitedly, the crowd settled in for lively sets from Bear’s Den and the Vaccines. “I can’t tell you how excited we are to be here,” said Vaccines frontman Justin Young, beaming between songs. Highlights from their set included “Blow It Up,” “Wetsuit,” “All in White” and “I Always Knew.”

As night fell, the crowd jockeyed for the best possible stage view. It seemed as if not a single seat or patch of standing room was empty. Fog filled the stage and the lights dimmed as we heard Mumford & Sons tuning in the dark. Uproarious applause and cheering ensued as the lights came up on the band playing “Lovers’ Eyes,” followed by “Babel.” Marcus Mumford greeted the sold-out stadium: “We just can’t believe you all came—17,000 people on a tennis court? That hasn’t happened for a long time!” The set moved along swiftly, and additional string and brass instruments joined the mix to create an orchestral vibrancy that escalated Mumford & Sons’ anthemic music.

“We’re going to play a song that’s extremely inappropriate considering the humidity,” said Mumford with a chuckle before the band played “Winter Winds.” The foggy low light suited the band well during their subdued numbers, and gleaming spotlights electrified the up-tempo moments. “Timshel,” “Little Lion Man” and “Hopeless Wanderer” had the crowd singing along, entranced. For their encore, the band covered Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” which had many singing along. Mumford & Sons took a break between songs to hit some tennis balls into the crowd using their instruments as tennis racquets. Paying tribute to their initial success, the band played closed the show with “The Cave” and bid the audience a cheerful adieu, cheering on the team that worked so hard to restore the stadium. Judging by the success of last night’s show, Forest Hills Stadium will be home to more sold-out shows in the years to come and reclaim its reputation as a famed music venue. —Schuyler Rooth

Photos courtesy of Diana Wong | dianawongphoto.com


The Vaccines – Terminal 5 – January 31, 2013

February 1st, 2013

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com


The Vaccines Return to Play Terminal 5 Tomorrow

January 30th, 2013

Just about three years ago, frontman Justin Young, guitarist Freddie Cowan, bassist Árni Hjörvar Árnason and drummer Pete Robertson teamed up in London to form the Vaccines. The quartet quickly became a buzz band—and earned comparisons to the Strokes, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and the Ramones—in the UK, thanks in part to a demo of “If You Wanna” uploaded to YouTube. Sold-out shows soon followed, even before the band (above, playing “If You Wanna” on Later … with Jools Holland) released their debut LP, the acclaimed What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?, in 2011. Not resting on their laurels, the Vaccines put out their second album, the equally well-received The Vaccines Come of Age (stream it below), last summer. And now that they’ve just kicked off another North American tour, you can see the Vaccines tomorrow night at Terminal 5.


A Band Playing for and Against Its Own Hype

January 21st, 2011

The Vaccines – The Bowery Ballroom – January 20, 2011

Vaccines - The Bowery Ballroom - January 20, 2011

There were two shows happening last night at the sold-out Bowery Ballroom, and the Vaccines were playing them both. As the most hotly buzzed UK band since the Arctic Monkeys, the London four-piece took the stage in front of a crowd that hardly knew them. A cursory exploration of the Internet would reveal that any nonindustry kids in attendance had heard a maximum of four songs before buying tickets to the first Vaccines show in the US. The crowd wasn’t exactly there to see the band, but rather, they showed up to see what they imagined the group would be. So the question and the disjoint hung heavy over an unwitting and ecstatic audience: Who are the Vaccines?

Even with all the hype, the Vaccines, displaying a combination of polish and caustic irreverence, appeared unfazed. They opened with “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra),” a sub-two-minute ripper sitting so firmly on the downbeat that you’d almost expect the floor to collapse. Two songs later, sounding like a more approachable Interpol, the Vaccines played their latest single, “Post Break-Up Sex,” the kind of love song that isn’t about love at all—kind of like people who fought to see a band they hoped might be great. The Vaccines hung the middle of their show on the fulcrum of their first demo, “If You Wanna,” a storming sing-along that might be their best song.

The quartet closed their main set with “Blow It Up,” describing destruction and mercuriality in the same chorus. And the two images of the band began to comfortably focus toward each another like uncrossing eyes. They were both themselves and the band everyone had imagined they could be. In the terms of their hype, they’re “the real fucking deal.” And nothing better shaped the evening than the second song, a tune no one knew (how could they?), where the final act was the screaming lyric: “We are happening.” And they were. —Geoff Nelson

Photos courtesy of Diana Wong | dianawongphoto.blogspot.com