IN CONVERSATION WITH: The Vaccines

WORDS BY CHARLIE SMITH

West London rockers, The Vaccines, dropped into Manchester for a secret gig with Jack Daniel’s on Thursday, as they tour their fourth studio album, ‘Combat Sports’. Jack Daniel’s has supported the musicians since their early days, so we caught up with the band before the gig on a drizzley evening in Manchester.

“We have a history with Jack Daniel’s,” they say, “We played in a cave in Derbyshire for them in 2012 which still ranks as one of the strangest places we’ve ever played. Jack Daniel’s is obviously synonymous with rock n roll mythology so it’s nice to see them still committed to continuing that legacy!”

Caves aside, Mr Jack definitely had a taste for music and knew that it brought people together, just like his whiskey, so wherever you find good music, Jack Daniel’s is sure to make an appearance.

From caves to stadiums, The Vaccines say they are relishing the prospect of being up close and personal with Manchester:Intimate shows are much more of a shared experience, the room becomes like a pinball machine of sweat and sound. It feels like you’re all in it together and you’re acting as the fuel for each other’s engines in a much more pronounced way. We love it.”

“Manchester’s heritage should make it an intimidating place to play, but it’s always one of the most welcoming crowds in the world.”

Some critics have hailed ‘Combat Sports’ as a return to The Vaccines’ roots. The band said: “We think they’re right to some extent. That was the main objective in terms of energy and spirit.

“We’d hope that the song writing, and presentation didn’t feel regressive, but we did want to reengage with what made us The Vaccines. We’re constantly looking for that though. Every album you make is reactionary to the previous. Whenever new music comes, it won’t sound like ‘Combat Sports’.” As well as fine sippin’ whiskey, Jack Daniel’s want to celebrate musicians. The drinks company supports the Music Venue Trust with 100% of the gig proceeds supporting the charity.

With so much music to pick from now, you might think the band would find it hard to compile a set list… “It’s pretty easy,” they tell us, “When you’re four albums in, people are there because they genuinely love and believe in what you do. We want people to have fun at our shows, and so we want to play people’s favourite songs.

“Crowd reaction breathes new life into old songs, so often the old material doesn’t feel old at all. That said, the new record feels so natural to play live. We like opening with something new. It’s a good way of asserting a new chapter.”

Jack Daniel’s Presents… gives emerging artists an opportunity to take to the stage and showcase their music. After The Vaccines became the latest act to perform in the well-established sessions, the band continue their world tour.

“We’re off to Mexico on Wednesday and then the USA. We’re still not bored of seeing the world for free. We still get excited going to Heathrow. I feel like we’re well travelled enough now that we’re able to find familiarity and home comforts in most places we go. “We have friends, shops, bars, parks, food etc. that we love to revisit every time we go somewhere. It kind of makes that place feel like home. There’s a big hand in every city.”

Jack Daniel set up his distillery more than 150 years ago in Lynchburg Tennessee, next to the cool, cave spring water which was perfect for making his whiskey. To this day it remains the source of every single drop of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey. Guests at the gig enjoyed Tennessee-inspired food and Jack Daniel’s cocktails.

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