There was something that connected Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse that was greater than tabloid headlines and videos of pet mice on YouTube. Beneath the carnival of chaos that pursued them (and, for one of them, still does), there was something pure and heartfelt in their work. There was a singularity of spirit, a shared ability to write honest and soulful music, words that felt sharp as a knife-gash and as tender as night. Which is what makes this tribute to Amy all the more touching.
Yesterday, Live Earth 2015, a concert featuring over 100 musicians playing in six continents to spread environmental awareness, was announced in Davos, a kind of diamond-studded hoedown of world leaders, oligarchs and business titans. It’s the most high-profile collision between music and climate change for a while. (Well, since One Direction joined Greenpeace’s campaign to stop Shell drilling in the Arctic, anyway). Al Gore and Pharrell Williams will run the event– and they have high ambitions.
At Brighton’s Concorde 2 last night (January 19), The Vaccines made their comeback show to a crowd of mere hundreds ahead of third album ‘British Graffiti’. It was a cracking night, but what did we learn of Young’s mob circa 2015? Here’s what… 1. IT’S FAST FORWARD TO THE RETRO-FUTURE “It’s a lot more future-sounding,” Justin Young said of the new Vaccines album ‘English Graffiti’, and judging by the four new songs the band premiered, he was shitting us only a little.
Twenty years ago this week, on January 25 1995, as Morrissey sharpened songs for his fifth solo album from his North London home, on the other side of the capital another flamboyant and controversial outsider was about to cast a shadow over English football. Sent off for the fourth time in four months, Manchester United’s French forward Eric Cantona was heading for the tunnel at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park early in the second half of a nervy 0-0 draw, when, hearing xenophobic abuse from a home fan, he launched a kung-fu kick into the supporter’s chest. The outcry was enormous.
The Vaccines have always had a knack for announcing their presence with songs that bury themselves deep into your brain and refuse to leave. Debut track ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ introduced them in 2011 with a rousing whirl of arms-aloft anthemics and fizzing guitars. The nihilistic ‘No Hope’ reintroduced them for album two, ‘The Vaccines Come Of Age’, a relatable, self-deprecating ode to being young and directionless. Welcome, then, to the London quartet’s third album, ‘English Graffiti’, ushered in by the urgent, attitude-rife ‘Handsome’.