Crash Records’ album release shows have always been some of the not-so-hidden gems in the Leeds live music scene. Illustrious artists in an intimate setting, with the ticket price seeming almost too good to be true. We visited The Wardrobe to catch two indie-rock staples: a rescheduled Sea Girls date as they rapidly approach their second album, and a release day party celebrating The Vaccines’ unique sixth installment.
Sea Girls: Wednesday 8 September, The Wardrobe
By Seth Fowler
Sea Girls took to the stage with an emotional start. The gig was originally planned for November of 2020 as an announcement for the launch of their new album at the time Open Up Your Head. After a few heart-warming words about being back in business from the lead Henry Camamile, the band kicked off the night with an absolutely phenomenal rendition of ‘Transplant’ one of their new songs.
This was only the start of an incredible night of talent, as the band attempted to pack in as many songs as possible. A few stand out moments were of course the amazing opening ‘Transplant’, as well as a couple of classic and personal favourites ‘Ready For More’ and ‘Closer’. These heard an appropriate reaction from the crowd of Leeds, with plenty of singing along in the main centre area of the venue. Despite the small size of The Wardrobe, it offered a nice and friendly atmosphere in close proximity to the band that was perfect for the hardcore fans.
This was something which Sea Girls did not fail to take advantage of getting right up close and personal with all the front members; although not as close as they would have liked after a disappointing apology from the band that they were unable to join the fans after the gig, due to COVID-19 precautions.
Luckily they made up for it with an incredible final few songs, with the highlight being their newest song to date ‘Sick’, which saw the best reaction seen from the crowd all night; lightening up the atmosphere in a strong last effort. This was, as per the usual, helped along by Rory Young and his insane dance moves while playing, and being the heart of the movement in the band.
If you can’t wait to see Sea Girls then don’t fret because they will be hitting Leeds again very soon at the O2 Academy Leeds, on Wednesday 20 October 2021, with tickets on sale here.
The Vaccines: Friday 10 September, The Wardrobe
By Rishi Shah
As for The Vaccines, there was no time for a pandemic pun or small talk — it was full steam ahead with the tight, rapid live show that their fans love so dearly. Frontman Justin Young’s bulging eyeballs and relentless charisma captivated what has now become a slightly older crowd, as the band celebrated the release day of their sixth offering Back In Love City.
Only The Vaccines could cram sixteen songs into a one hour set, with the more daring setlist choices tailored perfectly to their hardcore fans. ‘Handsome’ and ‘Your Love Is My Favourite Band’ were notable sing-along highlights, and there were significant offerings from their debut record such as ‘Wetsuit’ and the immortal ‘If You Wanna’. Whilst the band showed no signs of ageing, the usually raucous Leeds crowd was a little lacklustre on this occasion, perhaps due to The Wardrobe’s relatively small standing pit within the constraints of its majestic balcony setup.
We were treated to a variety of new material, which sounded colossal in a live setting thanks to the thumping tones of guitarist Freddie Cowan, a pleasant surprise given the slightly vacant feel to the studio versions. An American, Josh Homme-esque swagger translated in the grooves of ‘Wanderlust’ and ‘El Paso.’ ‘Jump Off the Top’ — a track the band have showcased live many times already - proved an energetic modern replacement to former setlist stalwarts ‘Wreckin’ Bar’ and ‘Norgaard.’
Whilst the album is definitely a divisive split from their sound of old, this live show epitomised just why The Vaccines have stayed at the top of their game for so long.
You can see The Vaccines live at O2 Academy Leeds next Saturday 16 April 2022. Tickets go on sale here on Friday 17 September at 9am.
By Seth Fowler and Rishi Shah
Photo credits to The Gryphon
Header image credit: @sarahoglesby_creative on Instagram