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The Vaccines leave no doubt

The Sinclair, Cambridge, Mass., October 14, 2018

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Other recent concert reviews
Had The Vaccines shot the wad too early? Playing songs like their first ever release "Wrecking Bar (Ra Ra Ra)," "Teenage Icon," "Dream Lover" and "Wetsuit" way early in the set made one wondered if the British anthemic rockers with a punk bent (think Arctic Monkeys, a band for whom The Vaccines opened seven years ago) would have the breadth and depth of songs to carry them through the rest of the night.

Bottom line - absolutely no problem whatsoever in a lively and invigorating night of music before a sold-out crowd.

Lead singer Justin Young was - no surprise - the focal point of the quintet, which drew a healthy female following. Young may have been blessed with good looks, but he was far more than a pretty boy. Young also happened to have been blessed with a surefire voice that flexed, strutted and owned the material along with a tremendous amount of charisma.

Young was athletic on stage, at times prowling about, clearly comfortable in the skin of being the front man. A sense of humor helped.

And then there were the songs, often ultra fast-paced punk style. This year's new disc, "Combat Sports," gets away a bit from The Vaccines' typical sound, a bit less melodic and dance oriented. But with songs like "Your Love Is My Favourite Band," not enough to create a disconnect.

This was a night pretty much without letup. Not with songs like the lighter sounding "Post Break Up Sex" only to be followed by the short and spirited "Norgaard" and later the sing-along "No Hope" (far more muscular than the recorded version), the poppy "I Always Knew" and perhaps the band's signature song, "If You Wanna."

Guitarist Freddie Cowan was in fine form from start to finish, adding the requisite sonic attack . Bassist Árni Árnason was called upon on several occasions to get the song started, rumbling and making his mark as well.

There was no question that The Vaccines had the songs aplenty to make one for one uplifting energizing night of music. In a way, the evening was a head scratcher. With songs, chops and stage presence galore, one was left wondering why this band is not far bigger. On this night, The Vaccines made such an impression that left no doubt they ought to be.