REVIEW: The Vaccines with Frankie & the Heartstrings support, O2 Academy, Newcastle

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THIS was a storming gig – but one that came perilously close to not happening.

Two hours before we watched Justin Young and company, a massive power cut meant we were stranded in a scene reminiscent of wartime Britain.

Westgate Road in Newcastle was bathed in darkness, with only car headlights producing any kind of light and the massive queue buzzing with the rumour that the entire gig was in jeopardy.

Thankfully, street lights and the Academy’s illuminations sparked back into life after about half an hour and our night was complete once more.

Those engineers deserved a drink, because their efforts were more than worthwhile.

With the audience suitably warmed up by a terrific performance by Frankie & the Heartstrings, The Vaccines finally appeared after what seemed an eternal wait. It was worth it, though.

Backed by a stunning, shadowy light show that made the band’s silhouettes look 20-feet tall, Justin Young, sporting an immaculate John Lennon haircut, and his crew leapt straight into their set with Blow it up and Wrecking Bar.

With the packed O2 in a frenzy by now, they kept up the frantic pace, accelerating through a set of immaculate, three-minute-long guitar-based sing-alongs of the type I thought had long disappeared into rock history.

A personal highlight for me was an astounding rendition of All in White, which had the audience almost shattering the walls singing along to the rollicking chorus. At times it took on the fervour of a football match.

Behind Young, the band, Freddie Cowan, Arni Hjorvar and, in particular, drummer supreme Pete Robertson, kept the mood of the O2 at fever pitch.

All too soon it was over before it seemed to have begun and my daughter’s 16th birthday present left her – and her dad – with huge grins on their faces!