The Vaccines Amp the Crowd Out of the Heat

By Grace Burns:

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The Vaccines on stage at Boston Calling 2016. Photo by Ross Ketschke

English indie-rock band The Vaccines took the stage this afternoon at Boston Calling music festival. Despite the weather reaching up to the low 90s during the day, The Vaccines managed to stay cool under the blistering Boston sun. Their nonchalant demeanor allured the audience as if they were John Bender, and we were 80s-era teeny boppers ogling at his charm. This was especially prevalent during their seductive ballad “Dream Lover”, in which frontman Justin Hayward-Young coolly invited us all back to his room as if he were asking us out to coffee.

Throughout the show, Hayward-Young literally demanded the audience’s attention, and the crowd was more than happy to oblige, meeting his wagging fingers with cheers of encouragement and clapping hands. This emotional intensity rarely wavered throughout the show, and watching Hayward-Young’s face twist and turn as him and the rest of the Vaccines sung of love and lust only amplified their performance.

On the contrary, some of their songs were vocally gentler than their recordings lead on. For example, “Post Breakup Sex”, a song that’s surely one that’s been belted by a broken heart or two since its 2010 release on their debut album, was vocally performed as if it were a stripped acoustic performance rather than a song of frustration.

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The Vaccines on stage at Boston Calling 2016. Photo by Ross Ketschke

In contrast, some of the songs were just as good, if not better, than if they were streaming from headphones. “I Always Knew” lent itself perfectly to bouncing and head banging amidst hundreds of other Vaccines fans, turning total strangers into momentary best friends as everybody bounced and bopped along to the blaring indie-rock sound that The Vaccines are infamous for. Listening to that song live in particular made the audience feel as though they were being featured at the end of a rom-com movie, in which the couple we’ve been waiting for finally gets together.  The chorus, that momentary bliss we all receive when the tension breaks… and the couple finally shares their first kiss.

The band picked the perfect closing numbers, leaving the audience energized and ready for the rest of the evening with “Norgaard” and “If You Wanna”, which are arguably their two most head bang-able songs. If anybody in the crowd was still feeling groggy from the heat or the night of music presented before, The Vaccines were there to call them to attention once again.


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