The Vaccines at Schubas-Official Lollapalooza Aftershow

A couple things to know before I review this show. One, Freddie (pictured above in white) was celebrating his birthday last night at the show. Two, about a month ago I incorrectly predicted that The Vaccines would come from distant odds to win the Barclaycard Mercury Prize for 2011. They were not nominated, which puts a bit of a damper on that. Though they may not be winning any big awards in the coming months, they are winning over a lot of rock fans.

Here is what i Tweeted out as I walked the long two blocks home after the show last night: “@TheRealVaccines @SchubasRock show of the year? Not for sure but pretty fucking great!” So yeah. I was pretty impressed.

The show started out well, with an opening set by a cool indie-pop band called Tennis. They did a pretty decent Daytrotter session last year, and their live stuff sounded really good. I missed the first third of it, but what I saw definitely warrants a second viewing.

One thing that took me off guard at the beginning of The Vaccines set was how much eye contact Justin Young makes with the audience. I felt like he wanted to connect with the crowd in a very personal way, and it was nice to see after years of going to shows where the frontperson does everything in their power to avoid that intimacy. I also felt like he was testing me to see if I knew the lyrics to some of the songs (luckily I did, mostly).

Another thing that surprised me was which songs were popular in the audience and which ones were less warmly received. I thought the song “Post Breakup Sex” would get a huge response, because that was the hit single that I knew before I got the record. It was actually “If You Wanna” that got the crowd whipped up in a frenzy. I thought the guy next to me was gonna start convulsing or speaking in tongues, he was so enthralled. As was I. Also, the song “Wetsuit,” which I like, but didn’t think it would be a riot-starter, really got the crowd going.

I was happy to see that most of the people at Schubas knew the band and were totally into them. Honestly, the last time I was in a crowd that sweaty was last years Titus Andronicus show at Subterranean. It feels good to get hot and exhaust yourself cheering with a big crowd, and The Vaccines are to thank for everyone’s wonderful night.

I do feel bad for the stage, though. By the end it was trashed in the most polite way possible. Justin threw himself onto the drumset at one point, and then later knocked bassist Arni Hjorvar onto the set during the last song. As it came to an end, Freddie just kinda tipped his mic stand to the ground, like Sid Vicious having tea with the Queen-polite, but still kinda badass.

For pure rockin’ good times, this is a tough show to beat. The Vaccines will be back here in Chicago in September at Lincoln Hall, and I’ll be there. I hope to see all of you as well.

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6 thoughts on “The Vaccines at Schubas-Official Lollapalooza Aftershow

  1. Was at the show, too and completely agree. Have been following this band for awhile, and seeing them in this small setting probably *does* equate to “Show of the Year 2011” for me.

    Energy level of the band was high and Justin’s crowd interaction was a definite plus as well (this probably has alot to do with his hardcore background.)

    Regardless, set was pretty much one big highlight, with “Wreckin’ Bar”, “Wolf Pack”, “We Are Happening” and especially “Norgaard” being my calls for best of show. Their cover of Minor Threat’s cover of The Standells “Good Guys Don’t Wear White” was kind of novelty cool as well.

    Top, top show. Can’t say enough about it, and as ana side, Schuba’s sound was AMAZINGLY good.

    1. I agree with your assessment of the setlist. It was basically a party of rockin’ jams, with no time for the slower stuff. I plan on seeing them again at Lincoln Hall next month, so perhaps they’ll play some slower stuff, like “All In White” or “Family Friend” both of which I enjoy immensely.
      They played a song that Justin said they don’t do live very much, and I wanna say he called it “Tuck and Roll.” Did you hear it more clearly than I did? Whatever it was, it rocked pretty hard.
      As far as Schubas goes, I think there has only been one show, of the however many I’ve seen there, where I thought the sound was a bit off. They always do a top-notch job. That’s why I moved to an apartment two blocks away.