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The Vaccines and San Cisco at the Triple Rock Social Club

10 Feb

Photos by Staciaann
Words by c.a.s.

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The Vaccines have either reached the point in their tour where they’ve sweat through all their clothes or had them torn off by ravenous female fans, because both guitarist Freddie Cowan and drummer Pete Robertson took the stage at the packed Triple Rock show with their own merch Ts turned inside out, which meant that the whole band appeared uniformed in black tops and dark jeans for their testosterone and adrenaline-fueled set. Matching their sound, frontman Justin Young was in full Ramones mode throughout the night, bangs in his eyes and bearded, with a touch of Buddy Holly with his high cropped jeans and white socks into loafers as he jackhammered across stage, strangling his Fender and rolling the microphone disdainfully around his lower lip. From the opening salvo of “No Hope,” the crowd was split between girls losing their minds and dudes being carried away in impromptu moments of crowdsurfing as Young reveled, owning center stage.

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Despite being on tour in support of their sophomore record, Come of Age, it was tunes from their smash debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? that garnered the most participation. “Wreckin’ Bar” started that feeling with some singing along, but it was “Wetsuit” that saw the first full-on unison clapping and singing the chorus. The accompanying roars of the crowd mitigated the issue of Young’s vocals being low in the mix, and the energy that he brought, careening on stage and lunging onto the wedges as Cowan and bassist Árni Arnason (whose black t-shirt had a Minor Threat poster in white on the front) struck stoic poses whilst tearing through their riffs, a tight, pulsing backline. Cowan especially owned his own moments, from the keys on “Wetsuit” to the various guitar solos (even though, again, he could have been turned up in the mix) including the high fire of “Bad Mood,” staying aloof enough to make even a snuck touch of his knee throw some of the women in the front into a frenzy.

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Other highlights of the night included the frenetic chanting along to “Post Break-Up Sex” and the moment, just before launching into “Blow It Up” that someone towards the back of the room howled out, “This is AWESOME!” Young broke his front for a second and cracked a smile, and seemed to be genuinely touched as he thanked the crowd. After a blistering version of “If You Wanna,” Young announced that this was the point in the show when they would usually leave the stage for an encore, “But we don’t even know if you’d ask for an encore,” he added teasingly. As the crowd roared that of course they would, and a video crew that had been hanging around backstage taped the encounter, Young chuckled, “We would just be standing being that wall. The only purpose it would serve would be our egos.” Fortunately, The Vaccines’ collective ego was strong enough to power through, whipping up the crowd until the crowning moment of “Norgaard,” which saw both wailing and moshing shake up the Triple Rock. Unlike the lyrics, suggesting that “she’s only seventeen so she’s probably not ready,” that room was 18+, and ready for anything, having given just about everything.

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In contrast to the friendly aggression of The Vaccines, openers San Cisco were a laid-back surprise, with a sweet set of tunes of a sunny, surfer-oriented disposition. The overall experience was far more like the riff-driven, light-touch songs like their opener “Golden Revolver,” rather than the forced back-and-forth of the overplayed single, “Awkward,” which closed the set. A middle highlight was the new song “Beach” (pronounced “beaitsch” in frontman Jordi Davieson’s Australian drawl) which featured strong vocals from drummer Scarlett Stevens and a Chariots Of Fire-esque synth pulse under the guitar line. They moved through their curtailed setlist (4 songs were crossed out) quickly and for the most part expertly, but a lag in the key change during “Wild Things” threw the song off a bit. Even so, they were charming, and clad in shortsleeve button-downs of a ’50s vintage (such as The Vaccines were wearing 2 years ago) they made a solid impression on the crowd. Good thing, too, because as Davieson noted in between jokes about the Minnesota weather, “We don’t really have any friends, so we’d love to hang out.” Lucky for you and for them, they’ll be back at the Triple Rock on March 30.

For Staciaann’s full photoset, click here.

BONUS: Justin Young in 2011 and 2013. There wasn’t as much girly screaming at that SPIN Day Party.819338_10151482233585041_2023581607_o

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The Vaccines Setlist – No Hope / Wreckin’ Bar / Tiger Blood / Lack of Understanding / Wetsuit / Teenage Icon / Under Ur Thumb / Aftershave Ocean / Ghost Town / Post Break-Up Sex / All In White / Change of Heart / Blow It Up / I Always Knew / If You Wanna / Wolfpack / Bad Mood / Norgaard

San Cisco Setlist – Golden Revolver / Fred Astaire / Beach / Reckless / Stella / Nepal / Wild Things / No Friends / Awkward

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