Jack Daniel’s presents… The Vaccines. For one night only, The Vaccines gave an intimate, surreptitious gig to an adoring crowd of only 200. In support of independent venues across the UK, 100% of all proceeds from the event proudly went to the Music Venue Trust.
Such a top-secret and personal event could have only ever taken place in one venue; Victoria Baths. A unique and extraordinary space, each corner was decked with Jack Daniel’s inspired décor – from pop-up bars to barrel installments; the Edwardian baths proved they scrub up well.
Support came from Lucia, fronted by guitar goddess Lucia Fairfull. Bringing gritty rumblings and riot-girl grunge, Lucia confronted the ever-growing crowds with angsty songs such as new EP ‘Summertime’.
One of the biggest and most loved British bands of our generation, The Vaccines not only draw on nostalgic cords, but also bring new tunes to the table. With a career kickstarting in 2011, the band have sold more than a million records worldwide.
And the North London five-piece didn’t disappoint. Plunging straight into one of their recent singles from their new album, ‘Combat Sports’, The Vaccines gave a raucous performance of ‘Nightclub’, setting the high-energy momentum for the entire night.
Justin Young, dressed in a strawberry and cream cowboy shirt, held and captivated the Manchester audience all evening, gifting the crowd with favourites such as ‘Wetsuit’, ‘Teenage Icon’ and ’20/20’. With several ‘pinch me’ moments, it was hard to believe that this was a rock band performing in a swimming pool. The again, Manchester never fails to conjure such seemingly surreal opportunities, and that night in Victoria Baths was no exception.
Ripping through a backcatalogue of wistful classics, The Vaccines didn’t blink an eye when worshiping crowds broke into mosh pits. Cue wasteful pint-throwing.
Nor did they struggle to raise a chorus with new numbers, like bubblegum punk-esque ‘Your Love Is My Favourite Band’.
With a sixty minute set-list made up of a well concocted balance of old and new, the crowd-filled pool showed no sign of ever letting up. Even as the show began to reach its climatic finale, a sentimental audience sang back every word of ‘All in White’ before the band left the stage.
As far as ‘secret gigs’ go, you’d be hard pressed to find a dream scenario as well-appointed as The Vaccines and Victoria Baths. Jack Daniel’s expert matchmaking of Britain’s most fondly reminisced bands with a venue so lovingly kept proves that Manchester is well and truly on the map for crafting unique experiences.