The Vaccines Benefit Show at The Joiners (22/01/13)


Since moving to Southampton, The Joiners has quickly and without a doubt become my favourite venue. This night wasn’t simply another night here; the night had arrived of The Vaccines’ Benefit Show. Following the success of Frank Turner’s show last month to increase revenue for the venue, I had very high expectations. We had the opportunity to interview the band before the show (article coming soon to The Edge) which highlighted what a humble bunch of guys The Vaccines really are. For a worldly famous indie-rock band to come back to their roots for a show an intimate, one-off, not-for-profit, show really shows how much they care. It’s this enthusiasm for the local music scene that needs to spread so we don’t lose venues such as our dearly beloved Joiners.

The night kicked off with Punk Rock band Our Time Down Here. Their sound was reminiscent of an early Blink 182 and they also reminded me of American punk rock band Set Your Goals. Despite having great stage presence and confidence whilst performing, the band remained humble and seemed nervous between songs. Overall I was really impressed by their performance and considering we were a crowd of Vaccines’ fans, they were greatly received and thankful for the opportunity. Hares were next and judging from appearances they seemed like an eccentric bunch of Topman models. However their self-proclaimed ‘bubblegum grunge’ was rather pleasant on the ears and their appearance made it all the more interesting. Another band that seemed to cherish The Joiners as a venue and feel privileged to be involved with such an amazing night of live music, and all for an amazing cause.

DSC_0060Onto the main event: The Vaccines. A sold out Joiners is a moment everyone should experience at least once if not many, many times. Despite the aggression from some idiotic individuals and the insane amount of sweat literally dripping from the walls, it is safe to say we were ready. Justin, Árni, Pete and Freddie bundled onto stage and opened with their first single from second album Come of Age, ‘No Hope’. Justin’s drawling vocals sounded perfect in the intimacy of The Joiners, especially as he was accompanied by a backing choir of 150 people. Next was the force that is ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’, 1 minute 25 seconds worth of fast-paced indie rock smashed right in your face. Insanely good.

The quartet played a variety of tracks from both albums with very little chatter in between. Justin Young, a frontman oozing with charisma, is in fact a man of few words on stage. The few words he did say sent out an important message about the reason we were all there: ‘Without places like this, bands like The Vaccines wouldn’t exist. Which, contrary to some opinions, is a bad thing’. The Joiners being his regular haunt whilst growing up, the frontman considered this show a homecoming. To my absolute delight they played my favourite track from Come of Age, ‘Ghost Town’. The synonymous bassline, twanging guitars and steady, marching drum beat were truly amazing. After seeing it at Reading Festival and now in a completely contrasting setting, it was a whole difference experience.

DSC_0069Crowd favourites are hard to pick with a band like The Vaccines. In fact I overheard a member of the crowd saying in between songs ‘I didn’t realise how many AMAZING songs they have!’. Which is so very true. They rounded off the set with ‘I Always Knew’, the latest single from Come of Age. Followed by ‘If You Wanna’, ‘Bad Mood’ and ending on the force of nature that is ‘Norgaard’. I left The Joiners feeling physically drained yet realising I’d just been to one of the best gigs of my life. No exaggeration.

An interview with The Vaccines coming soon to The Edge.

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About Author

I’m Megan Downing, an English Literature graduate from University of Southampton. I am the Music, Arts and Culture Editor for The National Student. I am the Membership and Communications Officer for the Student Publication Association, I write about music for 7BitArcade, and contribute regularly to The Culture Trip. I have a passion for live music and this is where I began in student journalism. Reviewing a gig or festival is still where my heart lies four years on. I will be starting at MTV as a News Intern in June 2015. One thing you should know about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with Kevin Spacey.


  1. Great publicity for the Joiners, such venues really give a platform to up and coming bands, first heard Justin as Jay Jay Pistolet, to any folk/alternative or Vaccines fans- his previous stuff is really worth checking out!

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