Live Review: Alvvays at Roundhouse, London | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Live Review: Alvvays at Roundhouse, London

Lydia Waller heads to the big smoke to spend an evening with indie-poppers Alvvays, and witnesses one of the best gigs of her life

As part of their rather small UK tour of their album Antisocialites, Canadian indie-pop band Alvvays visited the Camden Roundhouse on Friday 23rd February, and I’m so happy they did. Despite the evident success of their second album release, Alvvays still remain modest and tasteful in delivery; a humility that became even more apparent live.

he Roundhouse resembles more of a theatre and arts centre yet works seamlessly as a gig venue with a perfect level of intimacy
One of the most refreshing aspects about seeing Alvvays live is the diversity of the crowd, particularly regarding age. Unlike my usual experiences of having to arrive ridiculously early and passing the queue time outside with a few tinnies in Kentish town, I found myself ridiculously early and young. Majority of the crowd was approximately 24, varying up to people in their 50s. It was so refreshing and fun to see the indie scene not so typical and sweaty, but full of diversity and carrying a much more relaxed and less demanding atmosphere. Similarly, the venue provided a whole new experience of live indie, as the Roundhouse resembles more of a theatre and arts centre yet works seamlessly as a gig venue with a perfect level of intimacy. The muted colour lights and circular proximities meant no matter where you were standing, your view was clear and sound was crisp and solid.

The support band for the night was 5 piece Glaswegian ‘ramshackle’ indie pop band Spinning Coin, who proved to be a perfect accompaniment for Alvvays despite their polar opposite dynamic. It is very hard to categorise their sound under one blanket term as their whole charm stemmed from the dichotomy of their styles. Their sound was split into two dynamics, one channelling Cal on the guitar with his jarring shred, which then contrasted appetisingly with bassist and lead guitarist’s more mellifluous romantic songs. Additionally, the clarity of the female bassist’s vocals juxtaposed against lead guitarist’s intentionally strained yet cohesive voice, worked wonderfully to create this heart-warmingly characterful dynamic. Each section had a completely different motive.

Every detail of their stage presence added to the cool and tasteful vibe of their new summery yet synthesised indie-pop
Then there was Alvvays. Heaven on a stage with a synth, literally, the most satisfying and enjoyable gig I have attended in the past year. Their entrance was assisted by a grungy yet slightly aquatic intro and their graphic aesthetic of the ALVVAYS flag. Rankin kicked the night off with ‘Hey’ from Antisocialites, the most energised track of their new album to immerse the crowd straight away with their slightly more distorted pop vibes. Rankin was extremely charming the entire night, establishing a humble yet full presence on stage. They are the most modest yet adorably quirky band I have seen fill a stage. The engagement, rapport and even conversation with the crowd was just so natural and at ease, everyone felt so safe just to groove along to their sunny timbre.

The whole unit was so tight and cohesive, smoothly sliding into different tones; a particularly favourite of mine was transitioning from the romance of ‘Forget About Life,’ the sudden depth into Kerri’s euphoric synthy bridge, and then into the sugary riffs and pacey rhythm of ‘Your Type.’ It was these perfect transitions and set list that made the whole experience so seamless, despite some technicalities with Alec’s guitars and synth. The graphics throughout, initially just looked like fluid colours to complement Antisocialites album art, (as with their dress,) but turned out to be an infrared type camera mimicking their movements. Every detail of their stage presence added to the genuinely cool and tasteful vibe of their new summery yet synthesised indie-pop.

Rankin carried the night, naturally being their front, but her confidence, warm personality and unfaltering, insanely strong vocals just made the set so captivating and seamless. She took us right back to their origins with an encore of ‘Next of Kin,’ the epitome of their dreamy 80s nostalgia. An utter delight to endure and addictive to listen to. I was left replaying the album for weeks.

Keep up with Alvvays by visiting their website.


7th March 2018 at 9:00 am

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