Live Review: Pale Waves @ The Joiners, Southampton (23/10/2017)
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For Pale Waves to sell out even a small venue such as Southampton’s Joiners on their first headline tour, with just two officially released songs, says more about the precision quality of their record sound than it does about the actual live show. Granted, those two songs (‘There’s A Honey’ and ‘Television Romance’) are deliciously addictive pop gems, with the uncertainty, longing, and relative sadness of their lyrics all coated in the sugary tones that brought us The 1975. Yet with just those two songs, you maybe can’t blame the mixed age crowd for being shy to engage in sing-alongs. Not that they were asked to. Chemistry isn’t the band’s problem – even to accuse them of having a “problem” seems to miss the point. Their untalkative setlist (beyond requisite introductions for the six songs no-one could know) was more of the tightly rehearsed/relaxed delivery variety. Bassist Charlie and lead guitarist Hugo hit their marks with ease, bobbing along to their own instruments’ with a downplayed groove; drummer Ciara executes the songs’ clean rhythms, particularly shining during the bridge of ‘The Tide’ where for four bars, she and her discordantly Trap-like drums exist alone; above all this, lone vocalist (and guitarist) Heather will, from this show’s evidence, grow into a performer capable of bewitching much larger audiences entirely through her Mancunian tones. The pairing of airy synths and her delivery of ‘My Obsession’s pensive opening (“If you didn’t have an appetite for life/When you die you would be heaven’s obsession”) is a striking one, and her awkward T-Rex physicality makes a solid contrast to when she’s doubled over her electric.
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