REVIEW: Circa Waves at Manchester Academy

[First published on Quays News.]

Circa Waves

ON Thursday evening, Circa Waves took to the Manchester Academy following the release of their ‘Different Creatures’ album. The Liverpool outfit sold out the venue, swapping summer anthems for a heavier sound. Quays News entertainment reporter Rae Coppola was there for us.

Their 2014 debut album, ‘Young Chasers’ was the soundtrack to every indie millennials summer, with the guitar riffs generating punk infused energy and the infectious lyrics ensuring singalongs. However, fans expecting nostalgia were in the wrong place, as the band have grown up during their three-year respite, replacing tracks about love and lust with deeper, more grown up numbers.

The evening of music opened with support from Inheaven, an energetic four-piece from London. They alternated vocalists to create a unique sound, and got the audience moving with passionate tracks like ‘Regeneration.’ To finish their set, they said: “I know we’re called Inheaven, but that’s how we feel when we’re playing here,” and showed humility by thanking Circa Waves for the opportunity.

Next up were The Magic Gang, who were greeted by the applause from old and new fans alike. The Brighton based quartet played well-crafted 60s infused pop songs and looked to be having as much fun on stage as the audience were on the floor. They combined perfect harmonies with strong hooks and were the ideal act to get the audience moving. They were a reminder of the beach vibe Circa Waves’ tracks used to offer, and nailed their set enough to suggest they could one day achieve the same success.

Finally, Circa Waves took to the stage, opening their anticipated set with, ‘Wake Up,’ a song that will undoubtedly be used to open arenas in the near future. The band came out with a bang, showcasing their new, progressive sound and new direction. It was a pleasure to see the growth they have experienced, and to feel part of something more than feel good music.

However, this was soon contrasted with their older, more summery tracks, which made their set feel jumbled, especially in light of the chilly weather outside. Perhaps their debut album should be saved for festivals, instead of indoor venues, but the adolescent crowd ate it up regardless. They were jumping up and down relentlessly and singing along at the top of their lungs, especially during ‘Fossils’ and ‘Stuck in my teeth.’

Their new material is grittier, and much more guitar focused, meaning Joe Falconer had his time to shine, along with lead singer Kieran Shudall. The fact that these tracks were met with similar enthusiasm to the old fan favourites is testament to their talent. The audience formed numerous mosh pits throughout the hour-long set, and some gig goers even raised their footwear in solidarity during the slower, ‘Out On My Own.’

As expected, the unmistakable riff of ‘T-shirt weather,’ sounded at the end of the night, which ensured all attendees left with a smile on their face and a feel-good vibe. It was a great encore that captured where it had all begun and demonstrated just how far they had come.

Circa Waves took a risk by changing their musical direction, but with it seemingly paying off, they may be thrust into the arenas in the not so distant future.

RATING: 8/10

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