it's the fans that make or break bands

The Vaccines – The Joiners Benefit Show

The Joiners Arms
9.0 10 Excellent

The number of people claiming to have been at this gig will doubtless continue to grow alongside the years since it occurred, in a way reminiscent of the Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in ’76. This time though, it’s not about the band, it’s about the venue. The Joiners is the hub of activity for any band trying to earn its trade on the live circuit on the south coast, whilst providing an outing for people whose average gig budget is £20, including drinks and bus fare home. It’s fair to say there’s not many of the £20 gang here tonight, but those in attendance are united in stepping on each others’ toes in an attempt to pay tribute to this vital venue in its time of financial need, accompanied by the brash pop rock of The Vaccines.

The cramped crowd begin to move like a full box of matches being shaken vigorously to the sound of the shuddering opening volley that is ‘No Hope’ and ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’. For the majority of bands that grace this room, that would be it, encore material. Not The Vaccines. These two tracks act only as an entree for the delightful main course of ‘Wetsuit’ and ‘Teenage Icon’; the former bringing the biggest singalong moment here since, urm, Frank Turner last month, and the latter which loses its radio friendly sheen in the spit and sawdust surroundings drawing a rapturous response from faithful fans at the distorted riffs cascading from Freddie Cowan’s guitar.

Post Break Up Sex’ continues the endless barrage of hits, also adopting a meaner appearance than it takes on daytime radio, as a bearded Justin Young does his best crazed rocker look at this audience. It’s laughable, but in these frenzied moments, in a place where the crowd have to settle for swaying over moshing because it is simply too busy, it works. This is a band that has developed into an accomplished live act in recent times, as fans that have since seen them at their countless festival shows will testify.

Taking a break after a windswept ‘If You Wanna’ (someone had opened the fire escape by this point, possibly in search of some air lower than 35˚C), Justin takes a moment to remind us of why we’re all here. The importance of these small venues in the UK music scene resonates throughout the venue as he surmises, ‘without The Joiners, there would be no Vaccines’, before launching into a blistering rendition of ‘Nørgaard’.

As the ninety second anthem’s jackhammer rhythm threatens to bring down the house amongst the mist from the fire escapes, the drama and history that would disappear if we were to lose this venue appears in physical form. At this moment in time however, it seems far from ill – unlike the fans, who will catch their death outside – it seems in very rude health indeed.

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English student, wannabe Journo.

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