The Vaccines are set to play an exclusive show for the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert hall on Wednesday (20 April) – head to Teenagecancertrust.org for details and latest ticket news. It’s a hometown show for the band, which is nice because they’ll know something about the city they’re in for once. Here’s the bassist Árni Árnason on why you won’t necessarily see the world on tour.
Have you been to X? How was it? The two questions that trip me up every time I’m asked them. And that’s often. Like, a couple of times a day often. A touring band rarely gets a chance to explore places, in fact, most of the time you’re in and out too quickly to even fully realise where you were until you’re at the next place. That means that cities – and sometimes even whole countries – get boiled down to abstract impressions and memories that rarely have anything to do with the place itself. Your experiences of touring become a surreal word association game.
Have you been to X? How was it? Moscow: Pastel. Kuala Lumpur: Gatorade. Madison, WI: Hats. Sao Paulo: Idyllic. Idyllic? Yes, the band had long conversation about the definition of the word idyllic. It was over a bowl of pasta in the city centre. It wasn’t idyllic…
Los Angeles: Fish Tank. Berlin: Money. St. Petersburg: Fågel. Milan: Lakers. Lakers? Yes, Justin gave me a Kobe Bryant jersey for christmas when we were in Milan one year… I wore it onstage.
Have you been to X? It should just be answered with a straight ‘no’. I paid a doctor a bottle of whiskey for looking at my ears in Edmonton. I ate Ice Cream with a friend’s dad in Delhi. How were they? Blocked and Refreshing. Hardly constitutes as having been to either of those places.
However while the touring band might not be given a particularly educated view of the world, its history or subtleties, we do get a fair share of genuinely beautiful experiences. Touring is institutionalising as it provides you with highs and sights that you could never have imagined yourself ever being lucky enough to get experience and when you’re there you never want it to stop. Wherever the band is at any given point is a result of tireless work of the people putting on the show, so even though you might be jaded and lost in Columbus, OH on day 15 out of 30, the people that brought you here are just reaching the event they’ve been planning for weeks if not months. It’s time to party!
Inca Cola is identical to Irn Bru. Heineken tastes the same everywhere, and the DJ is always playing Last Nite. But there are delicate differences in sights and smells, accents and attitudes.
And that’s the key. While you might not get a chance to go and visit the Taj Mahal you do get to experience the incredibly unifying power music and culture has over people everywhere in the world. It knows no borders and doesn’t even ask of people that they speak the same language. Its beauty outshines that of any building or place.
Thanks to touring, I’ve never been to X.
Árni Árnason @thevaccines
For more on the band head to Thevaccines.com. This year’s Teenage Cancer Trust shows kick off tomorrow night (19 April) at the Royal Albert Hall and include New Order, David Gilmour, Bring Me The Horizon, The Vaccines and more. See Teenagecancertrust.org.