The Vaccines, Live in Columbus, Ohio

PF WilsonConcert Review, MusicLeave a Comment

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Vaccines lead singer Justin Heyward-Young. Photo: Hannah Wilson

That the Vaccines aren’t a massive arena act is a crime against popular music. They have three solid albums in their catalog, but have only made it into the UK singles chart four times, with their highest appearance at #32 with their 2011 track “Post Break-Up Sex.” They are almost unheard of here in the U.S., at least to those who listen to commercial alternative radio.  Ridiculous. However, they do have a solid following in North America as well as, of course, their native Britain.

It was the band’s fourth appearance in Ohio’s capital city, a fact noted by lead singer and chief songwriter Justin Heyward-Young. “This ain’t our first rodeo,” he said. Of course, Columbus has one of the nation’s few independent commercial alternative radio stations, WWCD. There’s also a sizeable population of college students thanks mostly to The Ohio State University (across the street from the venue), as well as a few other colleges in the area. Not unusual then that many in the crows were there to see them and not the headliner. More on that in a second.

The band packed 13 songs into a 40 minute set that featured al the hits. They were actually the middle act for Bloc Party a successful indie band, also from the U.K., that started back in 1999. They are back on the road after taking a few years off. However, many in the crowd were under the impression that The Vaccines were the headliner, only to see Bloc Party on the marquee of the Newport Theater. No one was made at Bloc Party, but many left after The Vaccines.

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It was a well assembled set for The Vaccines, starting off with the solid but comparatively restrained “Handsome.” From there it was straight into a proper banger with “Teenage Icon.” They downshifted into a few slower tracks with “Dream Lover” and “Wetsuit,” both delivered with great emotion. For the end of the state they built the pace back up nicely with “I Always Knew” leading into “If You Wanna” and finally “Nogaard.” An almost flawless set which could have been improved only by switching the places of the final two songs.

The opening act was a guy named Oscar who has just released his debut album Cut and Paste. Opening with the very fine “Beautiful Words,” he quickly won the crowd over with his set featured several catchy tunes including his current single “Good Thing.” A bit on the mellow side, he sounded a bit like a AAA version of Example. A nice discovery.

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PF Wilson has been writing about music, TV, radio, and movies for over 20 years. He has also written about sports, business, and politics with his work appearing in Cincinnati CityBeat, The Houston Press, Cleveland Scene, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Atomic Ranch, and many more. Check out his podcast PF’s Tape Recorder available from Podbean or in iTunes.

PF WilsonThe Vaccines, Live in Columbus, Ohio