LIVE REVIEW: Pale Waves – Liverpool

Pale Waves

O2 Academy Liverpool, 24th September 2018

Words: Daniel Burton
Photos: Gary Lambert

After having the biggest year of the bands career, Pale Waves are well and truly on their way to the top. With a debut album that charted at number 8, following on from a number of highly successful singles, and recently being announced to be supporting The 1975 on their upcoming tour, I was very much looking forward to this night. After entering the venue, it was clear that everyone in the room was buzzing and in good spirits.

Opening the night was King Nun. Considering they came to the stage just 15 minutes after the doors opened, this has got to be the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen for an opening act at the venue. Playing an unreleased track, Personality’, King Nun got the blood flowing and the sweat pouring in the room and got everyone filled with anticipation of what was to come in the future. A fast-paced set from the London based punk-rock 4 piece, got the crowd well and truly in the right mood for what was to follow.

After possibly the shortest changeover in history, Swimming Girls took to the stage. With leading synth rhythms prevailing and heavy bass lines the undertone, singer Vanessa’s voice complements their sound endlessly. Playing a variety of old tunes and unreleased new songs, their set gave a good insight to how the band’s sound has matured. Playing their new single, Beneath You’, the feel-good factor oozed into the audience. With everyone in a jubilant frame of mind, the Bristol band encapsulated every single person in the room into the world of Swimming Girls, which is impossible not to love, and I have definitely boarded the bandwagon.

I couldn’t help but think that if The 1975, Paramore and 18 year old Taylor Swift had a baby, it would be Pale Waves. With that at the forefront of my mind, rocking all black and typical body popping moves being delivered by singer Heather, Pale Waves crashed onto the stage. They kicked off the night with an uplifting rendition ofTelevision Romance’ which was accompanied by the crowd singing every word from the off. It didn’t take long for there to be a sea of hands waving around in the air and girls up on shoulders vying to be the one to get the closest to the stage.

If there was any doubt that the crowd weren’t up for this gig, it was imminently squashed when the guitar kicked off the second song of the night, Kiss’. Despite not knowing the lyrics, as if by some form of supernatural powers, I, alongside the rest of the crowd, were somehow singing along to every word. The jangly rhythm guitar sound playing second fiddle to the projecting guitar riffs creates a huge sound that very few guitar bands can achieve.

Third on the set list was Eighteen’, which left the crowd truly wanting to be 18 again. Whilst still being fairly upbeat, this tune has a slower chilled vibe than the Manchester 4-piece normally produce. This change in pace was much needed to bring the heart rates back down to normal, but the statutory girls on shoulders remained. Putting down the guitar, Heather was able to show the true power and versatility of her voice with Red’, from the recently released debut album, My Mind Makes Noises’.

Whilst the constant flashing lights and smokey stage setting may not have been a photographer’s best friend, it added to their stage presence 10-fold and helped to show off Pale Waves’ undisputed live talent. However, I don’t think that the band got the memo about the venue’s characteristic heat issues. With all the audience stripped down to the bare minimum acceptable in the situation, it was to my surprise that Heather came out wearing a thick black woollen jumper. I would have passed out after a few minutes wearing the same, but to her testament she managed to last 40 minutes until she had to succumb to the heat and remove it.

My personal favourite moment of the set was when ‘The Tide’ came on. My ears pricked up as soon as the drums kicked in and I was instantly pleased. It amazed me to discover that a song as good as this didn’t make the album, which only proves more how good the debut album My Mind Makes Noises’ is. Despite the reception The Tide’ received, Noises’ was undoubtedly the crowd favourite. Everyone was involved with 900 arms in the air and singing the whole song word for word. I cannot imagine how proud they must feel in moments like that, with so many people memorising the lyrics they have written and having to good time because of their hard work.

Ending the night, Pale Waves played There’s A Honey’ with the same energy and passion as the first song. Whilst there was a collective comedown in the crowd at the thought that they would be moving on to grace another town, there was also a sense of shared joy that they were able to be a part of the night and get to experience a magnificent performance from a band that will soon become a staple of the indie-pop scene.

Side Note

After leaving the gig drenched, I would like to officially start a petition to have the name of the o2 Academy changed to the o2 Sweat Bowl – keep your eyes peeled for the link to the page to vote ☺.

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