Live review: The Vaccines at O2 Academy Brixton, London, 26.11.

 Juliette Jackson of The Big Moon. Photo: Roosa Päivänsalo

Juliette Jackson of The Big Moon. Photo: Roosa Päivänsalo

7/10

Following their formation just under six years ago, The Vaccines were proclaimed the saviours of rock music before they'd even released their debut album. They have since become one of the biggest indie rock bands today; having recently played The Other Stage at Glastonbury, I was expecting arrogant confidence from the group to take on Brixton's O2 Academy for the third time in one week.

Unlike the previous Brixton gigs, the final night was opened by The Big Moon, who kicked off the show with contagious energy and chemistry that had the crowd infected. Followed by Pretty Vicious, whose performance was skilful and tight, the support acts seemed to raise the intensity in preparation of what was to come.

Boasting confidence and charisma, The Vaccines did not seem like the fairly young band that they are, but a band big enough to headline any festival in the country. Opening with the first track from their latest album, English Graffiti, the band initially struggled to stir up much of a reaction from the audience. Their delivery of an impressive repertoire of hits was spotless, yet the crowd's response remained lukewarm even during fan favourite and recent single 'Dream Lover'.

 The Vaccines delivered a typical rock show. Photo: Roosa Päivänsalo

The Vaccines delivered a typical rock show. Photo: Roosa Päivänsalo

Indeed, while the mainly teenage audience seemed familiar with each song, it was clear that material from The Vaccines' older albums was more loved - songs like 'Post Break-Up Sex' halfway through the set received screams of delight. The band seemed to get more energy from this and became even more animated, delivering the second half of the night with more enthusiasm and passion, instead of simply playing the songs through meticulously.

Singer Justin Young was at his best in their slightly lower-tempo songs like 'Minimal Affection', whereas crowd-pleaser '20/20' seemed superimposed and slightly forced. Indeed, the band's “pop-punk” anthems seemed somewhat tiring and as though they were meant to be sung by a stadium audience, not the band.

However, The Vaccines performed with great attention to detail – perhaps even in a professional, textbook rock band manner – and the quality of music was great, even if the show itself seemed a little over-prepared, lacking spontaneity and emotion. Their confidence shone through and the gig left the audience feeling good; it's hard to imagine the band didn't share that positivity, after songs like 'If You Wanna' and newer favourite 'Give Me a Sign' had generated intense awe and adoration among fans of all ages.

Finishing off with the juvenile chimes of 'Norgaard' I could barely hear the music from the screams. Had The Vaccines been around when I was 14, I would surely have been part of that half-crying-half-laughing crowd. Now, though, the gig makes me smile but not burst – I leave that to the younger audiences. The Vaccines delivered everything you would expect from “the saviours of rock”: a typical rock gig, performed with talent and expertly managed.

Check out our photo gallery of the night here.

 Young'sperformance was spotless, if lacking in emotion. Photo: Roosa Päivänsalo

Young'sperformance was spotless, if lacking in emotion. Photo: Roosa Päivänsalo

SETLIST:

1. Handsome
2. Teenage Icon
3. Ghost Town
4. Dream Lover
5. Wetsuit
6. Minimal Affection
7. A Lack of Understanding
8. Wolf Pack
9. Bad Mood
10. Post Break-Up Sex
11. Melody Calling
12. (All Afternoon) In Love
13. Give Me a Sign
14. Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
15. 20/20
16. I Always Knew
17. If You Wanna
18. All In White

Encore:
19. No Hope
20. We're Happening
21. Norgaard