Circa Waves, Gengahr, Rat Boy: O2 Academy, Liverpool

Circa Waves

Circa Waves

With a top 10 debut album under their belt, Circa Waves crash land in Liverpool on their sell out headline tour, Getintothis’ Pablo Dahill reports on a frenetic evening at the Academy.

Circa Waves stormed onstage in the sold out O2 Academy on Saturday night and rocked the pants off those in attendance.

Within seconds of taking the stage, frontman Kieran Shudall had his guitar in hand and was already pounding out the opening chords to Young Chasers, the title track from their debut album which spent last week in the official UK top ten. It’s fitting that this track should open the gig, the one which started it all when posted on Soundcloud circa (a-thank-you) November 2012. It’s hard to believe that these lads didn’t even know each other three years ago.

The band blast through their set playing the majority of Young Chasers in what felt like 8 minutes and 34 seconds. The set is filled with instantly appealing hooks and choruses meaning every song grabs your attention and could stand on it’s own as a single. Past singles Get Away, Fossils and Stuck in my Teeth keep the entire audience singing along from the teeny boppers at the front to the Smokie Mo crew at the back.

Circa Waves may not have played many gigs in Liverpool – we count this to be their third headline spot – but it’s clear through their set that Liverpool gigs hold a special place in their heart. Shudall remarked early on how it was “very nice to be home” before telling us that Best Years is a “song about Liverpool”. Bassist Sam Rourke followed this with a genuinely touching moment when he told us that playing here was like nowhere else in the world. We’re not naive enough to think that similar sentiments aren’t expressed at most gigs, but Rourke’s words seemed to hold extra warmth and authenticity. But maybe we’re old romantics.

Our own highlight: Two of our favourite songs from the album, My Love and Talking Out Loud played together towards the end of the gig. These two songs show the true talent and range of ability Circa Waves possess. Neither stick out as “Circa Waves sounding” but both somehow fit in perfectly.

The encore was simple and effective. Current B-side and single, 101 & T-Shirt Weather, reminding the crowd what it’s all about. The 2015 GIT Award nominees may have been beaten to the title by All We Are, but this show proved them to be one of the best bands Liverpool has produced in years.

Earlier, the night was kicked off by Rat Boy who are one of the most aptly named bands we’ve ever seen. Looking like they need a wash and may try to nick your wallet, we were pleasantly surprised by a more abrasive Jamie T. The four-piece produces pure attitude interspersed with samples, electro vibes and lyrics akin to those of Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, they’re definitely a band we’ll be listening to again.
Main support Gengahr were placed in a tough position as by the time they played, the crowd were baying for Circa Waves. Perhaps intended as the ‘breather’ in between the intensity of Rat Boy and the headline act, they eased through a laid back set evidently influenced by MGMT and lo-fi textured guitar. Expect more buzz when they visit Liverpool next month for Sound City.

Photos by Getintothis’ Michelle Roberts