ROCK hurricane The Vaccines may have played everywhere from Mount Fuji to 80,000 at Leeds Festival in recent times – but they’ve never played a cave in Derbyshire, writes David Dunn.
The Vaccines are playing the official Jack Daniel’s Birthday show in the mighty Peak Cavern – an exclusive gig to which you can win tickets as we explain, below – alongside Mystery Jets and Tribes.
For guitarist and vocalist Freddie Cowan the experience will certainly be one to add to an extraordinary tally from a band that holds old fashioned values of hard work over hype.
“It all just sounded wicked,” he says of the initial invitation to play. “I hope they’ve figured a way to make it sound all right in a cave. Then we’re not precious. Maybe that’ll come one day.
“It’s an adventure and the more things you do that you’re not sure about or put you out of your comfort zone the more you’re living and experiencing, and the better you’re going to get. You have to have that attitude, to embrace stuff.
“Anyway, the relationship between Jack Daniel’s and rock ‘n’ roll is age old. It’s not a rider without JD, is it?”
While The Vaccines are one of the era’s most vital young bands, they continue to favour a traditional MO from mustering fanbase to the making of recently berthed second album The Vaccines Come Of Age.
Like their debut, it’s a no frills swatch of a band that has grown up on the road.
“A really important skill is to recognise what you’ve got and how that’s going to work,” says Freddie. “You can have one thing and want it to be something else and destroy it in the process trying to shoehorn it into being too polished or not polished enough.
“A kind of impetuous, energy... we wanted to capture some lightning and the way to do that was not sit in a studio for three months and record drums, then bass...It was just, get in with some microphones and good gear and get it set up right. “We’d been touring for two years and were tight, so just did it.
“I don’t think we could have done any more justice to the songs. That’s the way the album is supposed to sound.”
After all, a chef wouldn’t send his signature dish to be seasoned by three other chefs so why spin a master round the world to be mixed for the sake of having some ‘names’ on the credits, not least after Ethan Johns’ warts-and-all production.
“There’s this insurance policy now diluting so much of the energy in music. People want to cover themselves so get the same four or five guys mixing everything or mastering to get the same sound. It takes the personality out of it.
“On our album you can hear when a microphone falls over or if someone fluffs a note or tells someone to f*** off, doors slamming. It puts you in the corner of the room and that’s a much more magical way to experience a record. Spending a lot of money and doing all these things isn’t the way to create the magic.”
That honest, unfussed approach also closes the gap between what you get on your iPod and the thrill of a live show.
And the latter is where Freddie has noticed their rapid rise to glory in the past two years; not least Heaton Park where they supported Stone Roses, and at Leeds Festival where they shifted from last years incredible NME Stage scenes to the outdoor Main Stage.
“You migrate with all the other bands on the circuit doing Europe, Asia and then Japan and then come back to England for Reading/Leeds. This year we were doing main stages all over the world but last year a lot of smaller slots in tents playing to a handful – up to 1,000 people.
“We came back in 2011 and you couldn’t move, it was full of people. The shock of that and being fit to perform – that was our 47th festival that summer – we were really set up to do it. It was like we’d been in training at altitude because you’re away, you’ve got jetlag and playing to people who don’t know you. You come back to people who know you, you feel good and it goes off.
“This year was the same but I was terrified. Main Stage was a big step, a dream come true as that was my childhood festival. I remember seeing The Strokes and Pulp so I was so nervous but it was one of the best moments of my life.”
One casualty in their punishing live schedule was singer Justin Young’s voice. He developed haemorrhaging on his vocal chords, requiring surgery three times last year.
“We were so busy it didn’t surprise me at all. I wasn’t shocked. I almost wanted to call the managers and ask ‘Look, what did you expect to happen?’
“We were sometimes doing two festivals in one day in two different countries, one at lunchtime, getting on a plane and doing one in the evening.
“Somebody was going to get sick or hurt. We were just flat out. But I think we got off pretty lucky as we hadn’t had a day off in six months.
“When it happened a second time it was because the doctor said eight weeks and we waited two weeks and went out again. It was really tempting fate.”
So now there’s an element of restraint when it comes to workload, although you’ll be hard-pressed to keep The Vaccines – also at Doncaster Dome on November 23 – off the tarmac.
“Even though we were a young band we built our foundation on rock – it was all gigging. Our Jools Holland appearance was helpful but there was no YouTube or MySpace sensation, it was old school – radio and playing a lot of gigs.
“It’s real. It doesn’t have to be smoke and mirrors and at the end of the day that’s all that’s important – the connection people get from what you do and what it means to them is all music is meant to be about.”
WIN YOUR WAY INTO THE CAVE
“Mr Jack’s Birthday is celebrated all September long, every year because we’re none too sure when in the month he was born,” say his people.
“But there’s no doubting where he was born – Lynchburg, Tennessee. This year’s celebrations culminate in a unique party at the stunning setting of The Devil’s Arse, site of the largest cave entrance in the UK.
“Being that all of Jack’s famous whiskey is crafted using the iron-free Cave Spring water that flows at our distillery in Lynchburg, celebrating in a cave seems like the right thing to do.”
“Entry is extremely limited, but we’re offering one lucky Star reader and three friends the chance to be there. In addition the winners will be served at a bar inspired by Mr Jack’s White Rabbit Saloon in Lynchburg.”
Winners also get into a Southern-style barbecue at Castleton pubs The Castle Inn and The Bull’s Head before the gig and an after show party at Sheffield’s Leadmill. Return coach travel is provided.
To enter, please answer the following question correctly:
What day in September was Jack Daniel born?
C. We don’t know
Email your answer by 10am tomorrow, Friday, October 5, 2012, to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, address, mobile number and date of birth. Competition open to UK residents 18-years of age or older.
YOUR FRIENDS AT JACK DANIEL’S REMIND YOU TO DRINK RESPONSIBLY
Jack Daniel’s Birthday show with The Vaccines in Peak Cavern.
Terms and Conditions:
OPEN to residents of the United Kingdom aged 18 years or over, excluding employees of Brown-Forman Beverages Europe, Ltd., their families, agents and anyone else connected with this promotion.
The closing date for receipt of entries is 10am, Friday October 5, 2012.
Please ensure that you submit your entry in time, entries received after this date will not be counted. Entries not in accordance with the entry instructions will not be accepted.
To enter submit your answer at email@example.com.
No responsibility is accepted for any entry which is not delivered, or is delayed or damaged due to technical reasons. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt
There is one prize available of four tickets to the Mr. Jack’s Birthday event at the Devil’s Arse, Castleton, entry to the pre-show barbecue, entry to the aftershow party at the Leadmill in Sheffield.
The winner will be the first correct answer selected at random from all valid entries as soon as practicable after the Closing Date. The winner will be contacted via email or telephone by Friday 5th October. The draw will be supervised by an independent person.
If the original winner cannot be contacted following reasonable efforts, is unable to verify their age or if the original winner is not available to take the prize, an alternative winner will be selected. Winners’ details will be available after this date by sending an SAE marked “Sheffield Star – Mr.Jack’s Birthday Competiion” to the Promoter at the address below.
David Dunn, The Star, York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU.
The prize is non transferable and there is no cash alternative. The Promoter reserves the right to offer alternative prizes of equal or greater value, should those advertised become unavailable for any reason prior to the commencement of this promotion. The promoter reserves the right to withdraw or amend this promotion in the event of any unforeseen circumstances outside its reasonable control with no liability to any entrants, the prizewinner or any third party.
The event may have a limited capacity so it is recommended that winners arrive early to avoid disappointment. There is a strict first come, first serve policy, and a one in, one out policy will be adhered to once full capacity is reached. The band line-up may be subject to change. Entry will only be permitted to valid ticket holders and proof of age will be required. Jack Daniel’s reserves the right to deny entry to the gigs at their own discretion. Entry will not be permitted to those under the legal drinking age, intoxicated persons, or for any other reason that causes the Promoter concern and they deem harmful to the enjoyment of others on the night. Any lost baggage or personal injury caused at the Jack’s Birthday 2012 gig is not the responsibility of the Promoter.
Winner and guest will be bound by the terms imposed by any third parties providing services as part of the prize. Promoter cannot accept responsibility for the acts or omissions of third parties.
By entering the promotion, all entrants will be deemed to have accepted and be bound by the rules. The decision of Promoter in all matters is final and no correspondence will be entered into. These terms and conditions shall be governed by English law and the courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction.
Promoter: The Star, York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU.
Usual SNL rules and data terms also apply, as below.
SNL Terms and conditions: These apply to all competitions in SNL titles and online, unless otherwise stated or as amended in association with specific promotions. Usual SNL rules apply - copies or requests, to SNL Promotions Manager, The Star, York Street, Sheffield. The Editor’s decision is final. No cash alternatives available. No correspondence will be entered into. Transport not included, unless specified. The winner(s), who must agree to publicity, will be the first correct entry drawn at random after deadline, or as indicated. A parent or guardian must enter or endorse entries on behalf of children aged under 18. A responsible adult must accompany any child winner or guest. SNL is not liable for failure to attend or for cancellations of any event. No photocopied entry forms or tokens allowed. Where applicable, unless otherwise stated, one web entry form, token or other web entry per person only. Individual entry forms and tokens by detailed request, with a stamped self addressed envelope, to the competition address. No purchase necessary. Failure to agree to terms and conditions makes winning entries void. Winners will usually be notified within seven working days after deadline, or as specified.
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