After a couple of years, Circa Waves are back with the notoriously difficult second album. The Liverpudlian indie rockers have taken a big risk with a departure from the lightweight summery vibes of their massively successful debut album Young Chasers. Their latest offering Different Creatures, arguably has more substance with heavier riffs and politically charged undertones. The risk has paid off; the band have clearly grown over the past two years but so has their fan base and it’s still there in full force. Tonight, Circa Waves are kicking off their UK tour at a sold out O2 Academy in Sheffield supported by London natives INHEAVEN and The Magic Gang, who could have headlined, judging by the crowd’s reaction.
Starting as they mean to go on, Circa Waves stride onto stage and burst into a series of indie anthems old and new, opening with Wake Up from their newest album and Fossils from 2015’s Young Chasers, both of which have the crowd hanging onto every lyric – the latter sounding as new and energetic as it ever has done. The band are incredibly tight on stage; everything on the sound front is studio perfect without losing the live edge and they’ve got that swaggering confidence that comes with critical success keeping the raucous crowd in the palm of their hands.
I’m torn on the pacing of the set list; whilst the stomping sing-alongs like Get Away and Stuck are undeniably brilliant, I’d have liked to have seen the occasional change of pace. That being said, when the tracks took a slower turn, such as the solo acoustic Love’s Run Out in the encore, it felt like the crowd were antsy to throw themselves around to another heavy guitar riff.
The near 2500 strong crowd are in full swing from the word go, an energy that doesn’t subside for the duration of the hour or so that the band are on stage. I’ve never seen a crowd so into a gig from the start or so many security stewards on hand at the front to deal with crowd surfers. This gig has the vibe of a summer festival with the aforementioned crowd surfers and girls perched on shoulders – all that’s missing is the high flying flags and the mud.
The festival feeling is amplified as the band close the show with firstly, their latest massive single Fire That Burns, sending the crowd into a frenzy before their biggest hit from their first album T-Shirt Weather. As soon as frontman Kieran Shudall teases the first few chords, the crowd are on board – nearly 2500 people singing along to every word is an incredible sight. It’s hard to see any other song than this as the big finale, with golden light reflected off the big disco ball just adding to the summer vibes. If this first date of the tour is anything to go by, the remaining dates throughout the UK, Europe and Japan will be massive.