It’s fair to say the past couple of weeks have been exceptionally heavy gig wise – following local concerts from a collective of performers at Louth Later and Blossoms at my student union, as well as a trip to Nottingham to see the amazing Russell Howard on his tour, I was back in the bustling city just a couple of days later to watch Circa Waves. The group have not always been my cup of tea admittedly, but they surpassed my expectations with material from grown-up and angry menacing second album Different Creatures. Rock City did not mark the first time I had seen the band live – Circa Waves were confident on stage and delivered an energetic performance as The 1975’s support a few years ago, so are very apt for performances at medium-big sized venues like Rock City.
Inheaven have stated in previous interviews, including one with ‘thelineofbestfit’ in 2015, that some of their members’ inspirations include The Cure, Nivana and The Clash – elements of all these great past bands arose in both the animated stage presence, performance, and the style of the group. I love it when bands share vocal duties as sometimes hearing the same vocalist sing everything can become tedious, and lead singer/rhythm guitarist James Taylor exchanged vocals with bassist Chloe Little. Alongside guitarist Jake Lucas and drummer Jake McGruwer, Inheaven created a loud thrilling throwback shoeglaze sound, with brooding vocals and grungy guitar kicks; they are a band I will be looking forward to seeing during festival season.
Whilst I had not heard any Inheaven beforehand, I’d discovered The Magic Gang a few months prior to finding out they would be supporting Circa Waves – their laidback, sophisticated indie sound makes them stand out from the legion of lad indie bands around at the moment. Similarly to Inheaven’s set, their performance lasted almost as long as some sets I’ve watched by main acts at concerts, and their generous time allocation allowed them to perform both well-known tracks, and new tracks from very recent release EP Three. Jack Kaye executed his vocals and you could say he sounded more immaculate live than the band’s recordings. There was plenty of encouragement from the group for singing along and moshing, and I found out they are the ideal band to start circle pits in!
Circa Waves Review
Symbolising their meteoric return to the charts, Circa Waves begun their concert with a high-octane strobe sequence; emphatic loud music channelled everywhere around Rock City as Kieran Shudall, Joe Falconer, Sam Rouke and Colin Jones slickly and stylishly entered the stage. Black and white flashing lights obscured the band from view, sending the crowd in an excited frenzy desperate to catch a glimpse of the group, until colourful light filled the stage as opening song ‘Wake Up’ began. The whole concert was pretty much a whirlwind of vitality – Circa Waves’ tracks are usually upbeat and fast-paced, and the lively, vigorous nature of their songs made the concert seem to pass quickly. It’s almost hard to imagine Circa Waves slowing their act down and performing heart-felt, slower mellow songs, but tracks such as ‘Love’s Run Out’ and ‘Out On My Own’ showcase the vulnerable side of the group, and it was the presence of these sorts of tracks which actually were the highlights of the performance.
Kieran gave a fine vocal performance – in moments such as the performance of ‘Love’s Run Out’, all the passion and emotion expressed in the song’s lyrics were echoed in his honeyed, dulcet, soft voice. Whilst at one stage Circa Waves may have been liked more by fans for the instrumental, easy-going elements of these tracks, Kieran has proved that he has one of the best vocals within the alternative genre.
Sometimes, when bands tour their second albums it is usually material off the debut which gets the most rapturous response – whilst the craziest and hectic mosh-pits did occur during Young Chasers material including ‘Stuck in My Teeth’ and ‘My Love’, the new songs were still well appreciated. There was a large amount of reaction to second album tracks, and the fans had already picked up on all the words. A concert experience is enhanced when the crowd is eager and involved with everything, and after Circa Waves’ encouragement they were pretty much up for doing anything. Special moments were produced when the crowd were sat on each other’s’ shoulders, swaying phone lights and lighters during the slowed down, gentle parts of the concert, whilst frankly going nuts and moshing during the up-tempo times. Circa Waves ended proceedings, after the obligatory encore, with the song that kicked things off for them: ‘T-Shirt Weather’. Rock City could not stop moving, and concluded what had been another wonderful concert in the musical hub which is Nottingham.
The set list for Circa Waves’ performance is as follows (curtesy of setlist.fm):
- Wake Up
- Get Away
- So Long
- Lost It
- Young Chasers
- Out On My Own
- Stuck in My Teeth
- Different Creatures
- A Night on the Broken Tiles
- My Love
- Love’s Run Out
- Fire That Burns
- T-Shirt Weather