Kicking the year off again with another Falls Festival sideshow, I ventured on down to Sydney’s Metro Theatre to take in the goods that The Vaccines are currently delivering as part of their current Combat Sports album tour.
Opening up the night were Newcastle band Vacations. Making the trip down to Sydney, the touring five-piece played a tidy thirty minute set, showcasing the better tracks off their 2018 album Changes. Having not heard of them prior to a few days before the show, if I were to describe their sound I’d describe it as a more upbeat Mac Demarco, mixed with the melancholy of Tiny Little Houses. Closing their set on “Steady”, I saw enough on Friday night to suggest that Vacations could be headed for bigger things (or at the least some bigger support slots in the near-future).
The Vaccines are a band that has always seemingly been on the cusp of higher billings at festivals and bigger venues. Ever since they released their debut album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, the now five-piece have always managed to put out jaunty and catchy English rock. As a result, their setlist now spans the better part of a decade, and manages to encompass their ever so slightly changing sound.
While on tour over the New Years period, the band have spoken about how Combat Sports has provided the band with a new energy, not only in the songwriting process, but also their on-stage presence. This was pretty evident through out the entirety of their 20 song set. With their set covering every album and release they’ve had since 2011, there was a bit of everything for all their fans throughout the 75 minute set.
Evidently, it was the older material that received the best response from the packed theatre. The short and snappy “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” earned an early call up, whilst the racing “I Always Knew” hit the sweetest of spots a few tracks earlier. Newer tracks “Your Love is My Favourite Band”, “Let’s Jump Off the Top” and “Out On The Street” were welcomed by a crowd that had a massive contingent of English in tow, thus making the West London band feel a little bit closer to home.
A personal favourite moment of the set came in the form 2018 single “All My Friends Are Falling In Love”. Quite pertinent to my own life, it was the mid-set party track that every show needs. Just like “All My Friends”, 2018 mega hit “I Can’t Quite” definitely lifted the mood of the night as it began to draw to a close.
The rapid fire “Norgaard” was an easy stand out moment mid set, while the fantastic “If You Wanna” hit that juicy spot of being both a sing-a-long and love song. The biggest cheer from the crowd came once more from early track “Post Break Up Sex”, while main set closer “Family Friend” left you wanting that little bit more.
Re-entering to the chant of front man Justin Hayward-Young saying ‘three more songs’, the encore included “Put It On A T-Shirt” and “Nightclub” before closing on what is probably The Vaccines’ best track “All In White”.
Making their return to Australian shores a couple years after their last visit, The Vaccines played as a band that had a renewed energy and enthusiasm for their live set. Having seen them before, it’s great to know that even after all these years, a band their size still has that drive to get better and bigger.
FOUR STARS OUT OF FIVE
The reviewer attended this show at the Metro Theatre in Sydney on 4th January 2019.
Feature image from The Vaccine’s show in Melbourne, taken by Rebecca Houlden. Full gallery HERE.