Pale Waves: Gig Review

Pale Waves @ The Garage, 7th March 2018

Honestly, whoever was in charge of the line-up for DIY’s Class of 2018 tour deserves a medal – putting Bloxx, Our Girl, and Pale Waves on one bill was a stroke of absolute genius. The gig at the Garage was Manchester indie-pop band Pale Waves’ biggest headline show to date and completely sold out, and it was easy to see why. With instantly catchy but also heartfelt songs, an extremely strong gothic visual aesthetic, and hordes of fans already singing along to every song, it seems to be shaping up to be Pale Waves’ year.

Up first were Bloxx, a London-based indie four-piece that I’ve fallen in love with since catching them support INHEAVEN at Scala last year. Playing recently-released and certified banger ‘Novocaine’ along with past singles ‘Curtains’, ‘Coke’ and ‘You’ – and two previously unheard songs, potentially off a near-future EP? Here’s hoping – their set was electric and held so, SO much promise – if you’re not following this band already then you seriously need to get on the hype, because they really are that good. Following them were Our Girl, a band I feel ashamed to admit that I hadn’t actually listened to before the gig – post-gig, however, they’ve rapidly become one of my favourite new bands. Having recently released a self-titled single, the band fronted by Soph Nathan of The Big Moon (side note: it was so nice to go to a gig with three female-fronted bands!) absolutely rocked it with their grungey, garage-rock-esque set.

Pale Waves, championed early on by Matty Healy of The 1975, opened with ‘Television Romance’, one of their early breakout hits, and it really kicked off what proved to be an energetic set by a band that really relished the opportunity to be performing in front of so many people that obviously loved their music. I’ll be honest, Pale Waves often lean a bit too far into pop for my taste, and I definitely got a bit misguided by their gothic aesthetic, but the atmosphere and general vibe of the gig definitely made up for that. ‘My Obsession’ showcased frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie’s emotive vocals, which created quite a contrast with the whole gothic look she had going on, but it’s refreshing to see a band – a somewhat pop band, at that – that has such a clear visual aesthetic that’s different to the mainstream (again, parallels here with The 1975, but it would be completely wrong just to consider them as ‘the female 1975’. They’re far, far more than that). ‘New Year’s Eve’ and my favourite Pale Waves track, due to its more indie vibe, ‘There’s A Honey’ closed the gig, and without an encore, it left the venue full of fans wanting more. With an EP, ALL THE THINGS I NEVER SAID, released earlier last month, and a headline gig already booked for 24th May at Heaven, it looks like they’re certainly going to deliver just that.

By: Phoebe Hagan