Gig Review: The Vaccines & The Arctic Monkeys

If you’ve ever been to the O2 Arena, you’ll know what I’m talking about here. You will probably have queued for more time than is necessary, have been herded like cattle and had a gold wristband shoved on your wrist to cut off circulation. Sound familiar? No? Well then, you CLEARLY were not at the Arctic Monkeys and the Vaccines on the 30th October.

The venue is big. Seriously, and in a space that large you don’t have many thoughts (other than if we have to evacuate I am going to die). It’s too hard to judge the space of the standing area so one half runs, half walks, feeling self-conscious of the other 23,000 people judging your gait. Once over that initial catastrophe there is more waiting. The Vaccines, who are too hipster turn up on time mince on twenty minutes after their allotted start time “yeah we’re the Vaccines yah” and then play album. The lead singer is wearing a shell suit jacket with his name on the back, and the drummer keeps standing up so we don’t forget he’s there.

Don’t get me wrong. The Vaccines are good. I like The Vaccines. They just seem to have stereotyped themselves as a set of washed up hipsters who have a song a with title that sounds like IKEA product. I’m serious! Nørgaard anyone? Oh yes! I’ve lost the assembly instructions for my Nørgaard. I suppose I’ll just have to hop back on the tram to Croydon and get another plate of meatballs and exchange my Nørgaard.

The Vaccines mince off and then more waiting, quick rig change. The tech team at the O2 keep turning the lights off to fool the crowd, then putting them back on again and playing rap music. Patience is shortening. Hands are turning numb from tight wristbands, and then finally the shadowy quartet makes their way into the light.

My misfortune came from only knowing old Arctic Monkeys songs. I sort of bumbled along to the new stuff, until frontman Alex Turner makes an introduction. “WHO LIKES ROCK AND ROLL WITH LOTS OF WORDS?”. The crowd cheer; I suppose that’d be us then. They’ve come a long way from ‘chip-shop rock’, and that’s a general criticism of them these days. They’re not exactly comparing the prices of avocados in a collection of fair trade retailers, but they’ve admitted to becoming a little too middle class for their image.
Credit where it’s due: they really don’t miss a trick playing live. They come across as a little awkward during interviews but the stage is where they really know what they’re doing. After a round of encores, they thank the audience for “having us”, making it sound like they’ve come round for chips and peas on a Thursday night. It’s been lovely having you, Arctic Monkeys. You’re welcome anytime.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ink Jack
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 15:36:27

    Nicely reviewed ^_^. The Nørgaard bit made me smile xD.


  2. Destro7000 (@Destro7000)
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 20:03:17

    I like your foresight into ‘what happens if everyone evacuates while I’m in the crowded place’ – I never woulda thought of that going into such an event but I will from now on. uh~oh.

    I can’t say I’ve ever assembled a ‘Nørgaard’ xD Are IKEA products all north-european sounding? They seem to have a song called ‘Post Break-up Sex’ which got me thinking – just exactly how does that even happen? The post break-up environment is hostile enough without adding extra sex to the occasion. likewhat?

    Did the Monkeys play their ‘When the Sun Goes Down’ track? or Mardy Bum? I like those. Not sure if they’re ‘old stuff’ or ‘new stuff’ though!



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