Cecily Sheppard

Circa Waves @ Mountford Hall

Circa Waves heading back to Liverpool for a headline home show in the Guild’s Mountford Hall was always going to be a big one, and it didn’t disappoint.

With support in the form of INHEAVEN and The Magic Gang, a sea of denim jackets flooded the Mountford last Friday – no kidding, I have never seen so much light blue denim in one place. As the Liverpool four-piece came home to take their
new album Different Creatures on tour, it was clear the crowd were pumped for this show, and in true Mountford Hall style, by the time Circa Waves hit the stage with opening track ‘Wake Up,’ it was already getting pretty sweaty.

Knowing only too well how warm the Mountford gets (my experience at the 1975 was quite the sweat-fest) I spent most of the gig leaning on a pillar at the back, but that meant I could make the most of the light show that accompanied the tunes. Circa Waves followed ‘Wake Up’ with a track off their debut album Young Chasers – ‘Get Away.’ One of my fave Waves tunes ever, this sunnier sound was perfect for that evening; the sun was out and everyone was in a great mood. So much so in fact that frontman Kieran Shudall had to pause to ask everyone to “take one step back, we need some space for dancing.” And that summed up the next hour or so pretty well – crushingly energetic.

After that little escapade, everyone seemed to find their place in the Mountford, the lighting switching to sunset-like hues for another 2015 oldie – ‘So Long.’ Following Shudall’s call for “this song – we need you to dance to, do you think you can do that?“, the band continued with Young Chasers track number four, ‘Lost It.’ This was a notable moment of the night, the room illuminated in blue light and the crowd clapping along like their life depended on it.

At this point, I witnessed a couple nearly pour an entire pint of beer on their faces while trying to take a selfie – hilarious, but a precarious position for me and my attempts to remember the tracks that came next. At least I dodged the beer this time, all the while ‘Fossils’ was playing out around me. Circa Waves now transitioned to the more intense vibes of the Different Creatures record. When I spoke to him last month, Shudall confessed to this album being “kind of the darker brother of Young Chasers.” This was immediately clear in ‘Out On My Own.’ The more intimate nature of the Different Creatures record was perhaps reinforced by Shudall’s telling the crowd “if you’ve got a friend, put your arm around them.” It’s a bit calmer too, a little less sunny, and a little more brooding and lyric-focused. But that vibe was thrown into chaos again when ‘Stuck in My Teeth’ resonated round the room – drinks were being thrown upwards, and more than one person had become air borne in one way or another.

If the first half of the set was top heavy with Young Chasers tracks, live renditions of ‘Different Creatures’ and ‘A Night on Broken Tiles’ solidified the new album as top touring material – the crowd seemed to be loving it. But did it fulfil Shudall’s pre-tour expectations by creating “some of the biggest shows we’ve done by far“? I reckon so. It was the encore that assured me of this though – ‘Love’s Run Out’ and ‘Fire that Burns’ are two top tracks on Different Creatures; the latter guitar-driven and bassy, and it’s easy to see why this came to our ears a few months ago as a single. Naturally, though, Circa Waves summed up their home set with ‘T-Shirt Weather,’ the appropriate end to a hot and happy show. When crowds stop being able to hear that tune live, it’ll be a sad sad day.

Circa Waves pulled out a stellar show for their home crowd – the right balance between rowdy and intimate. From the sun-kissed to the introspective, these tunes are pretty damn good.

 

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