There is something to be said about outdoor summer shows, the weather is the main attraction rather than the artist, but that is what makes for the adventure and adds to the ambiance of season. The forecast called for heavy rain and thunder storms and the only thing that arrived was heat and humidity, Mother Nature allowed two great British bands to bring the thunder and the storms. Arctic Monkeys along with The Vaccines opened up the summer concert series in Central Park last night to a sold out crowd that was ready to let loose and have the time of their lives. After packing in clubs and arenas since last summer, to be outside again on a beautiful night was an inclination that everyone in attendance was starting off their summer right.
Starting off the night was new sensations The Vaccines. The Vaccines are a London band that are giving the rock community a big shake and stir as everyone that has heard the band has immediately fallen in love with their catchy hooks and raw rock and roll delivery. This is the second time the band has played New York City; we were on hand for their very first show at Bowery Ballroom in January, and the biggest audience they have played to in North America prior to the festival season. For thirty minutes, those that have fallen in love with the band enjoyed and hung on every second, for those that never head the band were instant fans. That is the brilliance of their live shows; it is a fun good old fashion rock and roll gig. Toward the end of their set, singer Justin Young told the crowd “We were hear in January at Bowery Ballroom playing our first New York gig and it was a great show. That night we covered a song originally done by The Standelles but we really love the Minor Threat cover, so ladies and gentlemen please welcome from Minor Threat – Lyle Preslar!” The legendary hardcore guitarist joined the band for “Sometimes Good Guys (Don’t Wear White)” and had the audience in shambles over the sight of the guitarist with this new band, what was much more shocking was this is the first time Preslar has played the song live since Threat broke up in 28 years ago. It was a moment that immediately raised the bar for what was to come for the rest of the night.
After the brief but brilliant thirty minute set from The Vaccines and a thirty minute intermission, Arctic Monkeys took to the stage to show New York City how much they missed and love the city that never sleeps. Opening with the brand new track “Library Pictures” off their forthcoming album, Suck It and See, it was clear that Alex Turner and Co. were ready to party. The momentum kept going with the blitzkrieg versions of “The View from the Afternoon” and “Brianstorm,” the heat inside the fans area and on stage was blistering but enjoyable. With that many bodies crammed into one area and hoping around like pogo sticks in unison, cleanliness and hygiene are forgone for simple enjoyment. “New York City, we have a good moon tonight, it is going to be a good night” singer Alex Turner said before jumping into “This House is a Circus.” As the momentum kept rising during the first four songs, what then became apparent was the amount of time soon after, the band was wasting changing instruments and tuning. They would bring you up with the music and then bring you down as they reset themselves. It would be the only criticism of the night and if that is the case then they just need to tighten up for the future shows. As the band focused on songs from their last record, 2009’s mixed received Humbug and the big hits off their first two albums, they showcased enough new material off Suck It and See for fans to get a taste of what it will sound like. From what they played off the new record, it is the perfect avenue and feel of a young band maturing, it is a hybrid of Humbug meets the first two albums with somewhat of a heavier feel. The album arrives next month, so we will have to wait and see what the rest of it sounds like but if this any indication, they are going in the right place.