Review of The Vaccines at Oak Mountain (the not Mumford review)

Hey guys.

We’ve known each other a while. You know I like street rap. I squeal for British boys. I have 2 really adorable puppies and I do a little writing.

Today, SURPRISE SURPRISE, we are talking about a British band. But this time I got to watch one of my Top 5 bands live and in the flesh. I have no problem giving such high esteem to such a new band. It has, yes, only been 2 years since their debut. They have never toured in America. And they came TO MY CITY. I’m not a huge Mumford fan, but they were opening and the price of tickets was exorbitant because of this. Sigh. Thanks LiveNation & Ticketmaster for being the most evil bitches on the planet. I guess we straight (for now) thanks to their delivery of the Vaccines.

Bear’s Den with the first band out last night. They fit more into the Mumford “indie folk” vibe. I grew up listening to bluegrass and even sometimes playing it, so that genre doesn’t have the novelty to me that it seems to on the masses. No shade. GET MONEY.

Second, the Vaccines went up. I’d been thinking of how their live show would be for a while and there were some surprising deviations from the sets they play in my head when I daydream. Namely, it was very upbeat. Bouncy is the word I would use to best describe Justin Hayward-Young & crew. Their fearless leader bopped unashamed through the entire set and it reminded me a little of signature Ben Gibbard moves.

Vaccines “Wetsuit” in Birmingham, AL from whit s on Vimeo.

They played a healthy mix of their debut self-titled and then their newest Come of Age. There’s a very clear deviation in sound between them, but they were in such great spirits that they tired it all together seamlessly. They were upbeat the entire time. It was different than I imagined, since I had my own preconceptions about how they’d perform their newest songs especially. But it worked for them. It was the right mix of showmanship and tempo for the Mumford crowd. A great warm up.

The Vaccines coming to America. I’m still in shock that I got to see it so close to home.

Them being touring on the Mumford bill notwithstanding, Birmingham has landed some amazing shows lately. As a teenager, would I have ever imagined Arctic Monkeys or Neutral Milk Hotel would play here? Hell no. Sigur Ros? No way. We’d occasionally have a mid-tier ticket at Boutwell, like Get Up Kids with Alkaline Trio. Or a few years ago, Ra Ra Riot came with Deathcab at the BJCC Concert Hall. Alot of this in part to Bottletree and Iron City. I can’t show them enough love for taking the time to nurture our own lot of wasteland into a place artists genuinely book shows at because they’ve heard good things about the city.

But sometimes you gotta suck it up, go to Oak Mountain and sit out in the sauna like weather of an Alabama summer to see one of your favorites.

As for last night, the crowd was at capacity and hopefully alot of folk fans gave The Vaccines at least half a listen while they primed them for the big show.

If you haven’t heard their first album, do yourself a huge favor and get sucked in. Then proceed on to Come of Age, their sophomore LP, and appreciate the difference and growth.

Vaccines – “Bad Mood” in Birmingham, AL from whit s on Vimeo.


3 thoughts on “Review of The Vaccines at Oak Mountain (the not Mumford review)

  1. Old person question: Do they charge for parking at Oak Mountain now? Doubt they’ll book anything I want to see anytime soon, but I’m just curious.


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