Review: Circa Waves at O2 Forum Kentish Town

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The Circa Waves were at their bombastic and boisterous best in front of an enraptured sell-out crowd at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town. The four-piece from Liverpool are currently touring their second studio album, Different Creatures, wherein they’ve ditched the summery, indie pop fizz of their debut in favour of something much darker, low slung and altogether more grizzly. The indie rock outfit is made up of front man Keiran Shuddal, Sam Rourke slapping the bass, Colin Jones banging the drums, and Joe Falconer on guitar. They met at Liverpool Sound City in 2013 and released their debut single ‘Get Away/ Good For Me’ shortly after- so this summer when you’re packing your tent and looking for your wellies maybe pack a guitar or clarinet so you can start a rock band with your festival pals!

INHEAVEN were the first support act of the night, a quartet of shoe-gazers from the south of London. Their short stint on stage was ethereal and dreamy. ’Drift’ was a standout, a mix of melancholy and summer that was as bewitching as the front man’s shirt – purple suede, very Prince.

The Magic Gang needed no introduction to the 2,300 strong crowd. Their brand of sun-kissed indie pop clearly as built them quite the following. ‘All This Way’ had all and sundry singing along and swaying with their hands in the air. ‘How Can I Compete’, taken from their latest EP ‘Three’, turned the funk up and got the whole Forum moving. Jack Kaye the singer and guitarist made sure to inform the crowd that they would be returning to the capital in May for another show – the 12th May to be precise at Heaven, definitely worth a look!

The stage had been set for Circa Waves. The warm-ups had whipped up the crowd and psychedelic red eyeballs descended onto the backdrop. They opened with the blaring guitar riffs and punch from ‘Wake Up’ the first single from Different Creatures which sent the crowd into a frenzy. The quartet from Merseyside that brought you the exuberant and buoyant Young Chasers in 2015 have all grown up. Their debut was stuffed with a slew of infectious lyrics and catchy riffs but their latest endeavour is much heavier.

Although the Circa Waves were decked head to toe in black they made sure to even out their darker new tunes with some old favourites. ‘Get Away’ and ‘Young Chasers’ blew the roof off with some exuberant feel good vibes- the high energy was infectious and set the tone for the rest of the evening.

The Circa Waves kept the Chuck Taylors and skinny jeans vibe going for ‘Fossils’, another catchy number with angular riffs from their debut. The gut-punching ‘Stuck’ still had some of their indie pop bounce but ‘Out On My Own’ slowed it down with languid strokes of guitar and soaring lyrics about depression. Throughout Shuddall swaggered in the clenched teeth lyrics.

Soon thereafter the frontman demanded the crowd make ‘’the biggest fucking mosh pit you’ve ever made in your lives.’’ The audience duly obliged as the Circa Waves ripped through ‘Goodbye’. It looked wild and bruising but I must admit that rather than be in the thick of it I found myself stood at the back with a gaggle of concerned looking parents. Lame? Perhaps, but it’s easier to access the bar.

Shuddall kicked off the encore solo with an acoustic rendition of ‘Love’s Run Out’. It was emotionally raw but it was undoubtedly the calm before the storm. Shuddall calmly asked “What song do you want to hear now?” To which there was only one answer: “T-SHIRT WEATHER!!!” I hope the use of capital letters and exclamation marks conveys the deafening sound of the crowd’s reply. The stage glowed yellow for the zippy ode to youth whose riffs are as jaunty and exuberant as the teenage summer it references. The tune perfectly encapsulated the night as a whole and The Circa Waves vibe – unabashedly fun.

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Im Freddie and Im a nerd. I go to as many gigs as I can because I love getting elbowed in the face to the sound of music.

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