Saturday, February 24, 2018

Live Review :: Alvvays + Spinning Coin :: O2 Academy 2, Leicester - Feb 22 2018


Alvvays + Spinning Coin

O2 Academy 2, Leicester

February 22 2018

Words/Pictures: Gav Squires

Alvvays, still riding high on the release of their second album 'Antisocialites' late last year, have come all the way Canada to Leicester’s sold out O2 Academy 2, at what is probably going to be the last big show in the Queen's Hall at Leicester University.

Opening the show are Spinning Coin, another band that released an album at the end if 2017, the critically acclaimed 'Permo'. They've come on leaps and bounds as a live act in the last couple of years as long as you can ignore the Sixtth Form lyrics, “There’s many people that live in luxury / There’s many more people that live in misery” in 'Money Is A Drug'. You don't need to hear their accents to know that they're from Scotland as they have elements of both Frightened Rabbit and Belle & Sebastian. Their best track is still 'Raining On Hope Street', but for me they are still missing a little of the je ne sais quoi needed to make that next step up.

Headliners Alvvays walk out onstage beneath a video that seems to show the band name written on a bed sheet, highly reminiscent of the bedsheets strung up outside the union for the student elections. For a band that sing about 'Plimsoll Punks', they have impressively white shoes and they win over the audience by telling us, "you look good", it's impressive than singer Molly can see anyone as the smoke machine has been on. 'In Undertow' and 'Plimsoll Punks', both singles from Antisocialites, are played back to back early on. These two songs are indie from a time when it wasn’t afraid to be pop. After 'Not My Baby', they announce that, "I once saw two grown men fist fight in the front row during that song”; fortunately, there are no fisticuffs in Leicester. At one point Molly asks, “What do we need to know about Leicester?” One audience wagshouts, “it’s basic!” before someone else suggests Red Leicester cheese. Both answers are harsh on the city and the Canadians are left none the wiser.

A week and a bit after Valentine’s Day, 'Archie, Marry Me' from their eponymous debut gets the biggest reaction of the evening. Penultimate song, 'Dreams Tonite', is slower and has, as the name suggests, a brilliant dreamy feel to it. Not sounding quite like anything else in the set, it is still unmistakably Alvvays. A joyous evening is brought to a close with an encore that features a cover of 'Blue' by Elastica and ends with the brilliant 'Next Of Kin'.

With their pop sensibilities, Alvvays are an antidote to the overly laddish side of indie that we’re sometimes exposed to. They’re also just a whole lot of fun and it would be nice to think that some indie DJs would leave their records by The Enemy and The Pigeon Detectives in their record boxes one weekend and play something by Alvvays instead. And which other band allow us think about why that letter is called "double u" rather than "double v"?

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