On Monday night The Vaccines played an exhilarating show at The Phoenix in Toronto. And with this being their first headlining tour of North America, they absolutely killed it. Before their show, I had the opportunity of watching The Vaccines soundcheck. As they ran through Wetsuit, Aftershave Ocean, No Hope and Wrecking Bar (Ra Ra Ra), the anticipation only grew for the show to come. It’s a pretty different feeling watching a band perform to an empty room and three hours later to an all-ages sold out show. This was an extremely unique and special experience. Even through their soundcheck the band managed to be more energetic than some bands I’ve seen in actual concert.
After their soundcheck, the band took some time to chitchat with us for a couple minutes. They also signed my photos which I took with them from the last time they were in Toronto, along with autographing Madison’s No Hope EP sketch. It was fantastic being able to talk with such idols of ours.
Being a favourite band of not only mine but thousands of others, I was honoured a group of such talent were so humble and took the time to chat with me. Between their soundcheck and running out to grab dinner, The Vaccines took the time to do a very quick (and I mean quick!) 2Q Interview in the club as they were heading out the door!
Finally, The Vaccines took the stage as they opened with No Hope; an absolutely stellar opener which blasted the room with liveliness. After playing single Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra), The Vaccines jumped into Tiger Blood. Though not a single, it was fantastic to hear this song and Vaccines fans appreciated the fact it was in the setlist.
A few songs in, an immense amount of energy consumed the room as everyone in the venue was taken back in time as we all shared the room in one massive swing dance. Ghost Town was seriously fucking incredible. Following this was Post Break-Up Sex and All In White. I think it’s safe to say that Post Break-Up Sex was one of the crowd’s favourites; as soon as lyrics “I can barely look at you” hit the air, people sang as loud as humanly possible.
This crowd was hyped, and with Justin telling us all, “you’re fucking rad Toronto!” I think it only added to the excitement. Just before the group sprang into track Blow It Up, the crowd began to cheer, “Freddie, Freddie!” All of a sudden this roared over the venue and Freddie acknowledged by thrusting a fist in the air. Shortly after, Justin threw in a joke as he began cheering, “Árni, Árni!” Pete also joined in with the jokes as he chanted, “Michael, Michael!” I love how ten second events like this can really add a fun and memorable moment to a show.
As we neared the encore, The Vaccines and Toronto were able to Blow It Up like I Always Knew we could! Following these two tracks, the accelerating bass began and within seconds the band blasted into If You Wanna, one of my personal favourites. Everyone suddenly began jumping as Justin yelled to the crowd “But I can’t make you stay!” The spontaneous vocal changes he did throughout the night were a real treat. The middle eight was insane; all of the audience jumped all over the place while clapping along to the beat. The final chorus was also a brilliant one as the group put all their energy into it. If You Wanna really showed what The Vaccines are all about.
An overwhelming scream came over the room as Vaccines fans awaited an epic encore. Coming back onto stage, the group slowly one by one reassembled. Beginning with Pete on drums, he slowly introduced Árni, then Justin, and shortly afterwards Freddie. The first track of their encore was Wolf Pack. Trailing right after this, The Vaccines broke into Bad Mood- the band’s next single. This song was just crazed; the heavy drums, deep vocals, ripping guitar riff and heavy bass created such a wicked atmosphere. And then of course there was the last song of the night, Nørgaard. All honesty, this song was so fun. Justin allowed everyone in the audience to take our turn at singing the high backing vocals as he kept dipping the mic into the crowd.
One of the things I admired most about the show was how The Vaccines stuck to their guns; they played the music as it was supposed to be played; fun, energetic and with a whole lot of attitude. They also stayed true to the albums; the songs were short, sweet, and just like on the album, they lead you to wanting more and more Vaccines.
The only complaint I have is how I wish the night didn’t end. And even thought it was a Monday, The Vaccines wanted us to rock as if it’s a Friday. And I can come out of that concert saying we all rocked… hard. I expected something great from The Vaccines, but never thought it would have been that great.
I would just like to send out a huge thank you to The Vaccines for being so humble and gracious with their time. You really gave the crowd a night to remember.
For photos of The Vaccines @ The Phoenix, click here.
ICYMI, we're pleased to announce that AMBY placed 3rd in the #MiBAwards for best Canadian blog in the Art & Culture/Theater/Music category!