XFM Winter Wonderland, review: 'The Vaccines set the star on top of the evening'
O2 Brixton Academy, London
Friday 13 December 2013
In these days of pricey tickets, Xfm's Winter Wonderland package gig offers good value in a money-draining season, a festive selection box of indie rock.
Sweetly stern Glaswegians Chvrches offer an incongruous silvery grace note, but things really get rowdy with Miles Kane – every time his unfeasibly tight trousers approach the front of the stage, there's a giddy surge of bodies, whipped into action by his taut, moddish rock.
Momentum is lost somewhat with White Lies (and also with spectacular unfunny bloke and Xfm breakfast DJ Jon Holmes, who is roundly booed); the poppier, A-Ha-like direction shown on this year's 'Big TV' album was a welcome relief from the anodyne darkness of their polished, pretentious goth pop, but unfortunately they're still saddled with singer Harry McVeigh's comically portentuous voice, a fact which all the lasers in the world cannot disguise.
Also cracking out the big stage show are the Vaccines, a band whose rise to success is equally mystifying and charming. Bigtime accessories like the video screen backdrops that frame them seem to sit oddly on them, like mum's high heels on a toddler.
But while more recent tracks like the dark rabble-rousing of 'Ghost Town' show development, it's the puppyish gormlessness of early tracks like 'If You Wanna' that really set the star on top of the evening.
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