The Vaccines need absolutely no introduction. Having formed in the early 2000s, they might be one of the most famous UK indie bands at the moment after their incredible debut album in 2011. For their UK tour they had brought along 2 supports, Jesse Jo Stark, who we saw support Sunflower Bean, and Hatchie from Australia.
First on was Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Jesse Jo Stark, joined by her band. JJ is known for her lively performances, constantly dancing throughout her set, and enjoying every second. Being a singer-songwriter you have to have flawless vocals, even with a whole band on stage around you, and there is no doubt that Jesse's vocals were anything less than extraordinary. She goes from indie pop/rock with 'Breakfast with Lou' to grungy indie-rock set ending 'Fire of Love'. Her set was as impressive as the first time we saw Jesse Jo and I am sure it won't be long until she is back playing her own UK tour.
Next on was Brisbane-based Hatchie, playing her fuzzy shoegaze/synth pop. She is set to go on tour back in Australia with Kylie Minogue, so I was intrigued to see how good she was after getting probably the biggest compliment from the Australian pop legend by asking her to be her support. Her songs were catchy bops that instantly made you want to start dancing. Hatchie herself plays bass, whilst the rest of the band are made up of an electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and drums. She opened up with 2018 single 'Sugar and Spice' which instantly got the crowds attention. Hatchie has had a quite a rapid rise in fame and you can tell exactly why from their set.
It was then time for The Vaccines and by this point the venue was crammed as full as they could get it. A few days earlier in Blackburn, the band had to cut the set short after the front barrier kept collapsing, so it was definitely going to be a lively night for those near the front of the crowd.
They started with 'Your Love Is My Favourite Band' and the crowd instantly started dancing, jumping and singing along. Within the first five songs of the setlist, they had played songs from all 4of their albums. The quality of their set had to be expected, but it is still remarkable that The Vaccines can fill a set of nearly 2 hours from start to finish with banger after banger. Our highlights of the set came when they played debut album hits like 'Noorgard' and 'Post Break-Up Sex'. Every aspect of their set had been well planned and practiced. They played every song flawlessly, and a special mention has to go to the lighting engineer, who produced an excellent lighting display and helped the band produce the show they did. Even right at the back by the sound desk, everyone was singing along to most songs and the atmosphere created in G Live was second to none. This was the first time that The Vaccines had been to Guildford, but frontman Justin Young promised the crowd they would definitely be back. Their set finished with 'Rolling Stones' before the band left the stage.
Within seconds of the band walking off, the crowd were chanting for them to come back on and eventually the band came back on. The encore started with 'Put It On A T-shirt' before they performed a cover of 'Walk of Life' by Dire Straits, after telling us they were playing it for a radio show the next day. The encore came to an end with 'All in White' before the crowd filed out, and many were still singing to songs they had just heard walking down the street.
There was no doubt that The Vaccines would produce a good show, but they managed to produce something extraordinary. They are definitely a band worth seeing if you somehow have missed them until now as I had.
Words and Photos by Henry Groves