Post Image
Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Everything Everything / The Vaccines @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 09/05/2024

Braving Melbourne’s rain-drenched streets this Thursday evening, a sold-out crowd packed their way into the Forum in anticipation of a cosier occasion, brimming with nostalgic British Rock royalty. Making their first return to Australian shores since 2018 and 2019 respectively, co-headliners Everything Everything and The Vaccines are the unexpected combination of uniquely daring, and familiarly sentimental, blurring the lines of what is recognised within the classic rock genre.

In a Melbourne-exclusive, crowds were blessed to witness Kitschen Boy, awakening the iconic venue and setting the tone for the night. The four exquisitely suited local lads absolutely astounded audiences with their high-energy, 80s sound, packed with captivating basslines and contemplative lyricism. Immediately placing the audience into the crescendo of a coming-of-age film, the band exudes an aura of youth and vulnerability, whilst remaining infectiously danceable.

The indie band’s front man Dylan Baddeley is the epitome of confidence. His on-stage persona flaunts a kind of smugness, paramount to the British trad rock genre. Through their heavy thumping set, I couldn’t help but wonder whether this really was the ‘supporting’ act for the night. Powering through their short-but-sweet discography, and barely stopping for air, the band landed on their recent 2024 single, The Perfect Excuse. The introspective lyricism paired with trademark dreamy, muffled vocals makes for a standout hit, and the theatrical peak of their freshly released EP, Now Arriving At Panic Station.

Adorned with golden Hollywood lighting, perfectly placed synth, and ingenious bass lines, the band’s all-consuming blanket of vintage rock ‘n roll truly bought the Forum to life. Closing with 2019 single Charlie Don’t Party, the audience was left on an absolute high; a final clashing instrumental paired with blinding strobe cementing Kitschen Boy as some of Melbourne’s finest talent.

Waltzing onstage as nonchalant as ever, English Art-Rock band Everything Everything were set to make their Aussie return, touring their 2024 LP Mountainhead. Veterans of the genre, Everything Everything are best known for their complex and abstract tracks, drawing heavy inspiration from Radiohead, Nirvana, and The Beatles. With such legendary foundations, the band construct incredibly high expectations – which were most certainly met in their hour-long set.

The most colourful act of the night, Everything Everything’s unbelievably intricate, perfectly mismatched instrumentalism was clear from the outset. Maintaining an upbeat and energetic tone with their music, whilst under such heavy physical composure, the band exudes an unmatched level of professionalism. Taking their fans through a captivating journey of their expansive discography, they made sure to touch upon all the hits; the flawless harmonies of The End of The Contender, hypnotic lyricism of Arch Enemy, and infectious groove of Pizza Boy, to name a few.  By the half-way point of the set, the band entirely stripped back their fourth wall, inviting the audience to sing along. The movement of frontman Jonathan Higgs becoming increasingly fluid and captivating.

Jonathan’s vocals, most impressively his signature falsetto, are a standout feature of Everything Everything’s music. The band’s intricate song writing is also credited to the multi-talented frontman, who shares the intention of “avoid[ing] cliche, or the cliches expected of white men with guitars from Manchester”. However, the band’s spotlight is not solely contained to the centre stage, with each individual musician shining independently of each other. Another standout of their live set is touring keyboardist and percussionist Peter Sené. Travelling with the band since 2012, Peter has cemented himself as an honorary member of the band, bringing infectious energy to every song with his power stance and enthusiastic headbanging.

Nearing their grand finale, Everything Everything still had so much ground to cover. Hits including Kemosabe, Enter the Mirror, and Night of the Long Knives keeping the crowd on their toes, and introducing new musical elements with every verse. With a set so incredibly full of life and energy, and each song fresher than the last, it is clear to see how Everything Everything has amassed such a cult-like following. Distant Past, a standout of the set, is a culmination of the band’s catalogue of genres. Meshing rap vocals, a dance beat, rock guitar, jazz horns, and electronic glitches, the band proves there is nothing out of their grasp in today’s musical landscape – making them undoubtedly some of the best in the business.

Introducing a band with a hit from one of the greatest rock artists of all time is quite the statement. But West London’s, The Vaccines, entrance to the McCartney classic, Live and Let Die, was a perfect fit. The eccentric Indie-Rock heavyweights, fronted by affectionately cocky singer-songwriter Justin Young, bring a modern edge to the British glam rock genre. Flaunting flared trousers, a blazer, and a pair of Windsor-style sunglasses, The Vaccines ooze coolness, before even a single note is played. Kicking the set off, the single Love To Walk Away from their 2024 album Pick-Up Full of Pink Carnations had the room in a trance. Playing every song as if it were the finale, The Vaccines have a mesmerising way of personally involving every audience member in their high-voltage spectacle.  Making tactical eye contact with fans pressed against the barrier, it is clear the band have a following similarly ecstatic to that of early rock icons.

Waltzing though their impressive fourteen-year discography, the band barely paused for breath. Hits like I Can’t Quit flaunts their signature carefree feel, whilst clearly having the time of their lives revisiting Melbourne for the first time in six years. Hinting to their cheeky, unhinged side, the band transitioned into their ‘one for the animals’, Post Break-Up Sex. Dancing around the stage with fancy footwork, and pointing into the distance aimlessly, Justin makes the whole performer gig look easy. This is what diversifies The Vaccines from other rock bands, they are performing simply to have a fun and carefree time, with no hidden agendas or messages to push; and man, was the audience having fun!

Moving into a dreamier soundscape, Discount de Kooning (Last One Standing), bought with it a nostalgic energy, almost as if pulled from a teen romance film. Ringing guitars paired with continuous dazzling synth, and incredibly smooth flowing vocals gives the track a particular warmth. Lines like ‘Baby we should keep on dancing, I feel that something good is going to happen’ are uniform with the way The Vaccines consistently refresh audiences with happy positive music, yet not void of emotion.

Flying through hit after hit, The Vaccines reminded us of what flawless musicians they are, playing consistently dynamic tracks one after the other. After captivating thousands of minds for the last hour, the marathon of an evening closed out with the 2018 pop anthem All My Friends Are Falling In Love. Leaving the stage with the audience still dancing the night away, naturally, fans refused to leave, desperate for an encore. Once the house lights flickered on, and the glitz and glam faded, all we were left with was the memories of an incredibly fun night of rock music (and maybe a hangover or two!)

Read More