Live Review: Pale Waves – Liverpool

Pale Waves

Studio 2, Liverpool, 24th February 2018

Words & Photos: Elena Katrina

It’s still absolutely baltic outside and there was a tiny part of me who really wanted to stay in the warm but the pull of not just one, not just two even, but three, great bands all playing the same line up was something I couldn’t stay warm for! I made such a great decision, as did the full capacity crowd, many of whom were already in place when I arrived 20 minutes after doors open. Something I just don’t see very often at small gigs in Liverpool any more. It was Pale Waves’ first headline show in the city though, and with a growing army of fans it wasn’t the least bit unexpected.

First up were Bloxx, a band so young I’m not even sure they’ve started to shave yet, but it hasn’t hindered their ability to pen a tune or 6 I can tell you. Their stage presence a little timid for my liking but I’ve seen Pale Waves play with much less confidence than they have got now, so I know it will come. It’s just a matter of time playing to more crowds. It was hard to make out what the crowd thought of them though. I was very happy to see some of the crowd down the front singing along to all the singles such as Coke, You and Your Boyfriend. Lack of confidence aside the band still have a spark of stage presence and I’m excited to see how things move along for them.

I expected more reaction for main support Only Girl, if only because in front of us stood 1/4 of The Big Moon. But reaction for the most part was, and the drummer picked up on this, “polite”. I know that it was Pale Waves that the crowd was drawn together for, but Our Girl are an incredible band with some of the finest musicians around. Perhaps it was the style that the crowd wasn’t all so keen on. That being said by the end their rousing sounds did seem to capture the hearts of more. This band are heading out to SXSW and rightfully so. Songs that build and create a tornado of sound that picks you up and drops you off at various stop points along the journey. I felt transported, and there’s nothing better, in my opinion, to feel that way when watching live music.

The excitement in the air was palpable, the crowd at the front mainly young, and happy enough to sing along to the likes of Rhianna and Crowded house with equal gusto while waiting for their idols to take to the stage. As Pale Waves took to the stage a girl behind me said “I think I’m going to cry”. I might have missed a part of the conversation but she seemed genuinely excited – a feeling I’ve had a few times in my life when I’ve been overly excited to see a band play. I just wasn’t expecting it at this level of band. It’s a sign of things to come. It’s a sign that the band are really connecting.

I’ve seen Pale Waves many times over the past few years and I was slightly concerned that they were becoming moulded into caricatures of themselves but in a way I would say that is true of many a band who is being heavily pushed by the industry. Opening up their set with Television Romance the difference in their confidence, even from late last Summer, was something. There’s almost an air of arrogance there, one I’m hoping only translates to their stage performance. They should be confident and self assured though, they’ve had a hell of a year and this tour is a sell out. A true success.

Working with one of the biggest bands in the UK of the last few years has clearly taken a wash over their style and sound. There’s a definite style and sound that comes from Pale Waves. Sometimes I did look and wonder if they were actually enjoying it – but there were a few times when I caught a smile when people thought no one was looking and a tender moment when Heather asked off mic if someone at the front was OK. The tenderness continued into their slower songs. I particularly liked the way My Obsession translated. Their sound from production to live is spot on, it’s more than that, it’s impressive.

Having grabbed my shots I promptly grabbed hold of the girl who was going to cry and shoved her into my spot so she could get her own photos and get as close as she was, and probably ever will again, get to the band she loved. My job here was done. Apart from starting at the back to take in the crowd’s reaction. New Year’s Eve seemed to be the one that got the best reaction, one guy in the middle taking to someone’s shoulders and several women in front of me jumped up and down and bum wiggled their way through it. It wasn’t the song I thought that would have got the biggest reaction but it was great to see.

The crowd, for the most part, had been a bit of a mixed bag in my opinion, perhaps many there just to see what all the fuss was about, while some where there wearing their Pale Waves tees with pride and singing along to every work.  I’m hoping that any who weren’t so sure at the start, left with the feeling that they’d witnessed the beginning of something special. I’ve felt that way every time I’ve seen this band, I guess now though the secret is out!

 

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