THE VACCINES LIVE REVIEW: The Anson Rooms, Bristol – Smith Westerns support

Yesterday was a damp cold day in Bristol, so what was needed was a heart warming gig to warm up the city and the Vaccines were not found wanting.

We arrived at the gig just after 8pm and to be honest I thought I had walked into a 1950’s karaoke night.  A stereotypical rock’n’roll band complete with double bass and quiff. Perhaps I was a little hasty but after one song I headed to the bar.

The next support band however was far more pleasing. The Smith Westerns from Chicago, USA arrived on stage and right from the off had the crowd in their hands. They quickly fired from one song to the next keen to showcase as much of their material as possible.

They were tight and have clearly done their homework on their live set.  At first when they started they reminded me of Primal Scream circa 1987 and their “Sonic Flower Groove” era.  Clearly late 1980’s indie music is a key influence on this band.  No bad thing if it is done well, sadly many bands appear to be influenced by this era by showcasing poor imitations and the worst of the jangly guitar era.

The Smith Westerns however went from strength to strength through their set and the songs got better and better.  Their sound developed through the set incorporating more influences yet stamping their own authority with their song writing.

I have to admit I was hooked by their music.  The lead guitarist has an unusual style which is intricate and superb.

Great hooks to the songs kept the crowd enthralled.  I have to say this was one of the best support bands I have seen for a while. The last time I saw a band as good as this before their album had hit the airwaves was Everything Everything supporting the Rumble Strips.  It was clear who the real stars would be and how good their song writing was.

The Smith Westerns fall into this category and I can’t wait for their debut album. I was concerned about their drummer though, I have never seen a more depressed looking drummer in my life!  I was genuinely concerned for him, perhaps he should seek some help while he is in Bristol!

The Vaccines Arrive

So for the main event, the Vaccines.  Well they certainly didn’t disappoint.  They came on and after conferring between the band members they went straight into Under Your Thumb  and from that moment on the crowd was well and truly up for it and so were the band.

They looked genuinely excited to be there and are obviously enjoying the roller coaster ride through the murky world of the music industry.  They have dealt well with the hype surrounding them over the last 6 months, it is good to see a band deal with that hype by producing excellent music.

It helps the atmosphere when the crowd know every word, the songs are well crafted with memorable melodies  and the lyrics of the Vaccines songs are charming and amusing.  My moment of the night was with the sing along to “Post Break up Sex”, which is my personal favourite.  But to pick one moment may be pointless for this band as the whole set was superb and they got better as they the night wore on.

Their album “What did you expect from the Vaccines?”, has been one of the highlights of the year’s releases so far and their live set is even better than the album.  They managed to capture their sound brilliantly live and were superb throughout the set and managed to do 45 minutes, which for a band with only one album is pretty good.

It was brave of the Vaccines to go on tour with such a good support band, yet they pulled it off and the frontman Justin Young was superb having the crowd in the palm of his hand pretty much from the start cranking up the audience as he went.

This has to go down as one of the best gigs of the year.  Just loved it.


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