The Vaccines

The Vaccines (10:00 PM)

Deap Vally (9:00 PM)

Thu, September 13, 2012

8:00 pm

$20.00

Sold Out

This event is all ages

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The Vaccines - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
The Vaccines
Soon after the release of the debut album, "What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?," Justin Young and his band-mates wrote a track named Teenage Icon. "I'm no teenage icon/I'm no Frankie Avalon," it says. "I'm not magnetic or mythical/I'm suburban and typical."

The song is now the centrepiece of The Vaccines' second album, set for release just 18 months after that March 2011 debut. But if Justin and co still feel "suburban and typical", they certainly don't seem it. To look at them in their latest incarnation; longhaired, denim-clad, more confident than before, is to see a proper gang of four: Young plus bassist Arni Arnason, guitarist Freddie Cowan and drummer Pete Robertson. Teenage icons -- whether they like it or not.

"The biggest headfuck of all is the fact that people have an opinion of me as a human being -- not as a singer or songwriter, but as a human being," says Young, musing on the point. "It's so weird to think of people talking negatively about me or even hero-worshipping. A year ago I could have met said people in the pub and become friends with them but they'll already have an opinion of me now before we meet..."

But a lot can happen in a year. Formed in West London in 2010, The Vaccines were selling out venues nationwide by December. They released their debut the following spring and have since released two standalone singles, three EPs, a live album and the forthcoming follow-up album "The Vaccines Come Of Age."

"What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?" propelled the band into the spotlight -- going platinum by the end of the year -- and saw them end 2011 with two headline shows at London's Brixton Academy. By the spring of 2012 the band had amassed awards (including an NME award for 'Best New Artist'), nominations (including at the Brits), 3 NME covers, 6 straight Radio 1 A-list singles and a sold-out a run of U.K. seaside arena shows.

It's a rocket-fuelled rise that's left critics and cynics eating their words, even if those words have stuck with the band. "When we first started talking to the press, I think we were quite timid," says Young. "We were being forced to defend ourselves because it was happening so quickly for us. I think people were suspicious. We're so confident in what we do though. And we turned the hypothetical situation into something real. We won."

The attitude shift came at 2011's summer festivals. "We'd done festivals all around the world and not really at home. 46 I think," says Young. "I remember saying to our tour manager backstage at our first UK festival, is there anyone out there? He just said, Listen! And I could hear about 20,000 people chanting our name. It felt bigger than anything anyone could say."

While everything was falling into place, however, Justin's future as a singer was in jeopardy. He developed hemorrhaging on his vocal chords, requiring surgery three times last year. "It was cruel, but life is like that," says Young, who was left unable to speak for three weeks and sing for five after each operation, resorting to using flash cards saying 'yes', 'no' and 'I can't speak'. "Emotionally and socially, that was quite an interesting experiment. I spent my first date with my girlfriend communicating with a notepad. It still scares the shit out of me though -- if I take it too far on a night out or I get a bit too overexcited in a show, I know it may be my last. The silver lining is my voice has more character as a result. I think that's where the softness on the new record comes from."

If anything, the experience has put even more wind in the band's sails. Young and his band mates collected over 150 songs during 2011, written in hotel rooms from Tokyo to New York and Sydney. If The Vaccines's work rate seems unusually high, note that they don't judge themselves against their contemporaries; they judge themselves against the prolific pop groups of the past. It's one reason why they found themselves recording "...Come Of Age" live. Some tracks were cut in just one take. "You think back to when people were paying for two or three hours in the studio. It was, OK -- go!" says Young. ''Bands make records and then work out how to play them. We wanted to do it the other way round. It feels purer.''

Producer Ethan Johns was the man charged with capturing lightning in a bottle. "He felt like an old-fashioned producer -- an instiller of confidence," says Young. "He only cares that it sounds exciting. The songs were only ever finished when he said the hairs on his arms were standing up."

They recorded in Belgium and Bath, stopping to play in Brazil, at Coachella and in New York. In Belgium they worked solidly, breaking only for one night out (they went to a gay bowling night, FYI). At the studio, there were banks of guitars and amps available but Young chose to use his own axe -- a cheap Danelectro he bought on Denmark Street for £180. Like his songs, it's honest, sturdy and deceptively simple.

The album shows the band's songwriting and performance entering a new phase. If the debut was them finding a sound somewhere between The Ramones, Jesus & Mary Chain and The Strokes, the latest, says Young, is them striving to "sound like The Vaccines. We needed to work out which characteristics are going to make people compare bands to The Vaccines in five or ten years time. It's quite a searching record in that sense." It means there's a spotlight thrown on Cowan's 50s influenced guitars, Robertson's pounding drums and Arnason's pulsing basslines.

Highlights include the groove-driven "Bad Mood," the timeless "Lonely World" and the new wave-influenced "Aftershave Ocean," one of the more recent tracks that hint at where The Vaccines may head in the future.

The title -- "The Vaccines Come Of Age" -- is tongue-in-cheek, but only a little. "It's a lyric from the album's first single, which is how we named 'What Did You Expect...,' and it continues the theme of having the band's name in the title," explains Young. "Then there's the whole coming of age thing. The lyric is "it's hard to come of age," and that thought ties together the record. I'm bang in the middle of my 20s and I'm finding it to be quite a difficult place to be. You're expected to know what you want to do and who you want to be at this point, but I don't know who I am yet. Everyone I know is in a different place -- some have it all figured out, some have bad problems, some are parents, some are living with their parents, some are earning money, some are broke. I guess I still feel like I'm a kid. Recently I've found myself realising that a lot of my favourite music is no longer talking to me, but people younger than me. And that is a strange realisation."

On the album sleeve, The Vaccines really are kids: it sees the four band members replaced by four androgynous, teenage girls. "People said The Vaccines don't look like rock stars, so we thought, OK, have these girls instead. I wanted them to look androgynous. You can't tell who they are. They're at a time in their lives when they probably don't know either. And of course they're a gang," says Young. One of the four stand-ins, who have appeared in The Vaccines' videos too, will appear on the cover of each of the singles from "...Come Of Age," and the B-side will be written and sung by the individual band member represented on the sleeve.

Though they may claim not be teenage icons, The Vaccines have reset their expectations for this album. "I want to mean something to somebody," says Young. "I want to keep getting better and better, and if bigger and bigger is a by-product of that, then that's fucking awesome. Quite simply, I want us to be your favourite band."
Deap Vally - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Deap Vally
“I think people could look at us and make one assumption, and then when they see us play, that assumption will be shattered,” says Julie Edwards, Deap Vally’s drummer. “And that’s the beauty of it.”

Indeed there are plenty of assumptions to make about a female duo who on the surface of things are all wild hair, short shorts and lip-curling attitude. But this would not prepare for the sheer hurtling power of their music; the kind of inextinguishable ferocity that cannot be faked or fluked or phoneyed, that can only be hauled up from the guts.

Edwards met her bandmate and co-conspirator Lindsey Troy in the unlikely environs of a crochet class in Los Angeles’s Atwater Village. Edwards was teaching; Troy her new student. “Lindsey learned crochet really fast,” Edwards recalls, “she had good eye-hand co-ordination which was a good sign. But while we crocheted we bonded, and talked about our struggles as artists – how frustrated we were.”

At the time, Edwards was in another duo, the Pity Party, while Troy was performing solo, each somehow orbiting one another as they played different circuits in LA. Both felt unsatisfied — Troy quietly plotting her solo world domination, while Edwards, feeling burnt-out, was contemplating a return to college to study psychology. But following that first fateful meeting their plans began to shift.

We kind of stalked each other online after that a little bit,” is how Edwards explains it. “I was really impressed by her,” adds Troy. “I thought she was really cool. You know, like Cool with a capital C.”

The idea of jamming together seemed a natural one, and at that first session Edwards brought in a bassist friend to make up a three-piece all-female band they jokingly named God’s Cuntry. But with the bassist away on tour thereafter it was just Edwards and Troy — a guitar and a drumkit and two wild voices.

“I knew before we even went in to that first jam it would be special,” says Troy. “I could feel it. And I was happy being a two-piece. A big part of Deap Vally is that there are limitations, and we enjoy those limitations, but at the same time within those confines having no limitations. We like to push boundaries.”

It is when they play that they say they feel freest — ignited by the roar and the pure physicality of it. “I have always wanted to make heavy music,” says Edwards. They speak of their soul and gospel and punk influences, of R’n’B vocal melodies and Blues riffs meeting “powerful dark dissonant Sabbath-esque chord progressions and the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll.” They talk of the “heavy” sensation of fingers stumbling on a new riff, arms beating drum-skins. “It’s just a great release,” says Edwards. “It’s very freeing.”

They first played live in the spring of 2011, first at the Silverlake Lounge and then at the Hotel Café, where Marilyn Manson pushed his way to the front row and heckled them as they took to the stage. After the show the first thing he said to them was, “Can I be your groupie?”

That so many eyes and so much attention lingers on their bodies and their attire does not ruffle them. “Sex is a big part of the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll,” says Troy. Look at all the great rockers, the power they had over the crowd. Sexuality is power, and we don’t want to be a neutered band; we like embracing our sexuality. It’s a part of our music, and being women is a big part of it, our lyrics are very much from our experience. We’re very much women.”

Certainly many of the songs on this record are from a powerfully female perspective — from dealing with sleazy men in Creep Life to the glorious two-fingered defiance of Gonna Make My Own Money. “That song is kind of literal,” admits Troy. “My Dad was always saying ‘You’re gonna have to marry a rich man!’” Edwards nods. “And my Dad would be like ’When are you going to meet a nice dentist?’” It is a song, Troy explains, that is about “people underestimating your ability to do things as women and feeling like ‘fuck you I’m going to do this and prove you all wrong!’ It’s that spirit of independence and achievement.”

But there are gentler songs here too, songs about relationship dynamics and heartbreak, as well as a number called Procreate, which was, Edwards elaborates, “an idea Lindsey had, about wanting a guy so much that you want to have their baby. That weird lust that exists, and which I totally relate to, but a lot of people don’t write about, because maybe writing about babies is kind of weird. A man wouldn’t write that song, and if they did it would be a little bit different. It would be more like ‘I wanna knock you up so you stay home and you’re mine forever.’”

They were drawn to each other, they say, by a mutual unapologeticness, by the fact that they are both, by their own definition, socially aggressive women. “I was always very drawn to female performers who were very loud and outspoken and flamboyant,” says Troy. “And I feel like with Deap Vally we are unstoppable – we are so driven, full throttle, it’s undeniable. We really believe in what we represent as a band. And what we represent I feel is like post-post-post feminism.”

By their nature, they say, what they do is political — “In that we’re women,” Troy says, “and we play this type of heavy rock music, not afraid to let it all hang out,” she says proudly. Edwards adds, “So many women masculinise themselves and play their femininity down, and something Lindsey and I felt is that we have never wanted to do that. I’ve been playing drums in tiny shorts for as long as I’ve been playing drums.”

Certainly, short shorts and their breed of visceral, heart-churning rock ‘n’ roll is quite an arresting combination. “I don’t know what image of femininity we’re trying to fulfill,” Edwards says, “and maybe we’re creating a new one: we’re badass but we’re not mean-spirited and angry. We just really, really love heavy music.

“We believe,” says Troy, “in bringing truly live music back.” Edwards nods. “And we believe in the rock ‘n’ roll revolution, bringing guitar-based rock ‘n’ roll back to the mainstream. We love Led Zeppelin —they’re our heroes. Because that’s a band that played stadiums, didn’t have a safety net of a pre-recorded back-up tape, they didn’t record to a click, and they were really, really sexy and really commanding. And why can’t that happen again? “

Deap Vally’s Debut Album will be released in 2013.
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change