Gig Review | The Vaccines @ Barrowland Ballroom

Vaccines tour poster

What did you expect from The Vaccines?

The Vaccines are a group I’ve longed to see for years, I’ve listened to every album religiously and they’ve always been a go-to favourite of mine. When they announced this tour to celebrate the release of their sixth studio album, I jumped at the chance to go.

In an internationally recognised venue, Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom played host to one of the most exciting bands I’ve ever witnessed, and one that only continue to grow and maintain their immense popularity.

Headline: The Vaccines

Walking on stage to Wings’ ‘Live and Let Die‘, the crowd cheered as each member of The Vaccines appeared before them. From the very first note, I was astonished by how quickly the group demanded and kept the attention of the entire audience. Hit after hit from their 6 studio albums were played with the sell out crowd singing every word back to them. Frontman Justin Young‘s stage presence was simply phenomenal.

Photo by Ashleigh Maitland | Insta: @ashleighmaitlandphotography

Their most recent album, “Pick Up Full of Pink Carnations“, was a playful lyrical twist of Don McLean’s song ‘American Pie‘ and the record formed the foundation for their set. Songs from their sixth album played during this electrifying show included ‘Lunar Eclipse‘, ‘Discount De Kooning (Last One Standing)‘ and ‘Sunkissed‘.

Building on top of this brilliant base from their 2024 album, every album was recognised and tunes from each one were played to The Vaccines’ adoring fans. This is a difficult task when you have that many albums, and especially for the English indie-rockers because each album is filled with fan-favourites. It must have been difficult to form a setlist that not only recognises their recent music, but gives their most dedicated fans the tunes that soundtracked a lot of their lives, including mine. Their most popular tunes like ‘Post Break-Up Sex‘, ‘If You Wanna‘ and ‘Teenage Icon‘ obviously made the list, and were so surreal to finally hear live.

Photo by Ashleigh Maitland | Insta: @ashleighmaitlandphotography

The performing of the stellar setlist was fast, and the gig was over before most of us would’ve liked. The Vaccines’ chose songs that ranged from recent records like 2021 album “Back In love City” to older albums like their 2012 release “Come Of Age“. Their debut album “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?” also received a notable mention and asks a very important question. This is a question I couldn’t answer, I didn’t know what to expect. The mistake I’ve made a few times with bands is setting my expectations so high, purely because I love them, only for these expectations not to be met. However, for this gig, I didn’t set my hopes high enough.

I’ve been to hundreds of gigs and this one was a gig I was insanely excited for, and one I didn’t want to leave. The Vaccines are the only band that have left me basically speechless at the time, yet when writing this review, I have so much I feel I needed to write about. There are not enough words that I could use to explain how immaculate their performance was. They’re a band you have to add to your gig bucket list, if you haven’t seen them already.