Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Alvvays @ The Leadmill, Sheffield 31/08/2015

Alvvays return to the UK for their second headline tour since the release of their 2014 self-titled debut; on this particular evening greeted by a packed back room of The Leadmill.

Alvvays enter to the sound of pipes, presumably some famous tune from their Nova Scotian homeland. Opener Your Type feels as though it harnesses the vibe of the traditional entrance theme, the music of the earliest settlers weaving though time to make itself known. Of course in a punchy, alt rock Alvvays style.

I was aware the group were Canadian but only through seeing them live did that identity become so apparent, and clearly crucial to their output. I should perhaps stress, I mean a Nova Scotian identity. I have made the acquaintance of enough proud Newfoundlanders or Quebecans to know not to start throwing around the C word!

Whilst there appeared to be some nerves at the outset of the bands performance, following Adult Diversity both band and audience had found an excitable and relaxed equilibrium and by the end of Next of Kin the grin on the face of lead singer Molly Rankin was contagious as the rest of the band exchanged equally impressed looks.

Crowd pleaser The Agency Group is followed by a new track, giving the crowd a taster of what is to come.

Ones Who Love You and Dives, provide a mellower atmosphere but no less of a crowd response. These are followed by Atop a Cake, which appears to have garnered a certain status among Alvvays fans. That is if the excited looks I saw on a few audience members faces mouthing “Atop a Cake” is anything to go by.

Throughout the show the band remained animated, and exchanges with the audience continued to be consistently amusing.

Underneath Us preceded the epic and spine-tingling Party Police, for me the standout track of the album and of the evening. An emotive track in which it was clear a large majority of the young crowd could relate to.

New Haircut, another new track feels like a teenage anthem. Perhaps their next big hitter. But for the time being the evening ended with the track that started it all, Archie, Marry Me.  

That is until the encore of Red Planet, performed solo by Molly. Whether the lyrics are describing Mars or referencing exotic (to the UK audience at least) and bleak landscapes of Nova Scotia, I’m unsure. I can say however that the crowd loved it.

The rest of the group returned on stage to finish the night with a bang, with a cover of Kirsty MacColl’s He’s on the Beach.

Without presuming too much I’ll take their off the cuff oil related comment from mid-way through the gig as a declaration of intent. Watch out tar sands, there is competition for the title of Canada’s biggest export!


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