To celebrate the release of third album ‘English Graffiti’, The Vaccines have been playing small sets in record stores around the country over this past week. When it was announced that they were playing at Sound Knowledge in Marlborough, a mere twenty minute drive from where I live, there was no way I was missing it.
Lead singer Justin Hayward-Young was the only one who performed, as it was a small acoustic set and it made for a very intimate atmosphere. Walking out onto the stage, Justin shouted “good evening Marlborough! Not something I ever thought I’d be saying,” and judging by the packed state of the venue I don’t think anyone else had been expecting this announcement either.
Starting off with newest single ‘Handsome’, it was brilliant to hear what is already such a popular song in such a different arrangement. Justin assured the crowd that “there’s more going on than just me playing his guitar on the record”, but with his unique vocal tone and beautiful lyrics I don’t think anyone would have minded if that was the case. The other new songs that he played, namely ‘Denial’ and ‘Want You So Bad’ both kept me utterly gripped throughout, and if they’re anything to go by I can guarantee that ‘English Graffiti’ is one hell of an album. I purchased it before the show last night, so I can’t wait to have a listen through to it, because I do believe this is going to launch The Vaccines into an even higher level than they’ve already achieved.
But of course, Justin wasn’t only going to play new songs, so it was brilliant to hear ‘Melody Calling’ and ‘If You Wanna’ performed acoustically as well. The older songs obviously got much more of a reaction from the crowd, especially where ‘English Graffiti’ is so brand new, but for most of the new songs the audience were respectful anyway. There was a moment when Justin had to call out some of the people who were talking, saying “It’s fine if you don’t wanna hear, but I need to be able to hear as well” before ‘Denial’, which was refreshing. Too often acoustic artists will just deal with people talking and attempt to work through it, so I was happy to see someone call out the crowd; even if the show is free, you shouldn’t bother going if you’re just talking all the way through it.
But for the majority of the show, people were paying rapt attention, with Justin thanking everyone for going, saying “it’s amazing you all came out at such short notice to celebrate this new record with us.” If you knew about this show and you had any sense, you would have been there. Justin regaled us with anecdotes of when he was a pub singer and used to perform by himself, announcing that he could “assure you no one ever came”, it was extremely inspiring to see someone who had strived for success manage to achieve it, so despite the fact that he said it was very intimidating to be up there all alone, you never would have known it by watching him.
After ‘If You Wanna’, Justin said that he had been stopping after that song at the other sets, so the fact that he added in a special performance of ‘Wetsuit’ just made this show even more memorable. This was my first time seeing The Vaccines, but this has convinced me that I need to see a full band set, because if the songs are this amazing with only a quarter of the band on stage, it can only get better from here. I’d sincerely recommend you pick up a copy of ‘English Graffiti’ today.
Want You So Bad
If You Wanna