Alvvays’ long awaited return to Thekla proves once again that they are in a league of their own. Their set list is bulletproof; new songs are received with open arms and open mouths as an ecstatic crowd sings every infectious melody. With such a natural and honest performance they have only grown closer to our hearts.
“It’s good to be back on this ship” are Molly Rankin’s first words of the night, met by “It’s been a long two years!” from somewhere in the crowd. It is evident from both the speed at which the show sold out and the air of excitement this evening that Alvvays are very much loved and Bristol has been greatly anticipating tonight’s performance.
When a band state that they are about to play some new songs it is quite often not what the crowd wants to hear, however this is definitely not the case here as there is a huge whoop at the announcement. They follow this with singles ‘In Undertow’ and ‘Plimsoll Punks’ both concrete classics already. Molly’s voice is nothing short of perfect, her manner is confident and comfortable yet devoid of ego. It’s clear she is enjoying the gig as much as we are as she bobs around behind her guitar.
It is rare to see a band that engage with and appreciate their audience as much as Alvvays. Both Molly and guitarist Alec O’Hanley are happy talking and joking with anyone who will shout out to them; they tell anecdotes about their friend who started a film club in Bristol fifteen years ago and Molly checks up on a kid at the font who looks a little under the weather. Seeing the band’s personalities come through in these little ways is quite charming.
Tracks such as ‘Lollipop (ode to Jim)’ provide little nuggets of pop fun whereas some more thoughtful numbers such as ‘Forget About Life’ and ‘Dreams Tonite’ break up the set and offer some of the most powerful moments of the evening. It happens to be drummer Sheridan Riley’s Birthday; she gets a big singsong and cake which Molly apologises for turning to shit in her backpack.
Towards the end of the set they pull out some older classics such as ‘Next of Kin’ and ‘Archie, Marry Me’ to which clusters of elated fans even start moshing to. After leaving the stage to thunderous applause they return for a two song encore including a fantastic cover of ‘Trying to Be Kind’ by Scottish indie band Motorcycle Boy.
Tonight has proved exactly why there is so much love for this band, to witness such a confident, natural and charming live performance could not leave anyone unfulfilled. They are a band clearly developing, yet remaining true to themselves, whilst having a lot of fun along the way.
Check out one of our favourites from the night ‘Dreams Tonite’ here: