Pale Waves at The Waterfront review
Boasting over 200.000 monthly listeners on Spotify, a contract deal with The 1975’s label and an American tour under their belt, it’s easy to forget Manchester four-piece Pale Waves are only now announcing their first EP. Frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie recently shared an NME cover with The 1975’s own Matty Healy, who speaks of them like they are the most exciting band in the music industry. We head to the Waterfront to find out what all the hype is about.
After the energetic buzz that King Nun (the brilliant supporting band) has created with its contagious, enraged performance, the reaction to the headliners’ show opener Television Romance is slightly disappointing, the room suddenly feeling smaller and quieter as it adjusts to the change in atmosphere. However, both band and audience quickly grow confident as the former goes on to play some of its demos, with Heavenly and My Obsession particularly standing out, before introducing new song You Don’t Love Us Anymore, an easy track that has the crowd singing along.
The front-woman’s lazy dance moves and unimpressed look are somewhat reminiscent of those of the band’s mentor, and it’s not hard to see why she is being branded as the female Healy; seamlessly switching guitars every couple of songs and easily communicating with the rest of the band without speaking to them at any point, Baron-Gracie exhumes the confidence of someone who has been playing venues for years – and she has. ‘This is the first time we’ve headlined here,’ she declares, and the room goes crazy. The energy keeps building all the way up to fan-favourite There’s A Honey – ‘I know you like this one,’ she says, breaking her otherwise sombre façade to grin at the crowd as it starts jumping to the chorus. But then, it’s all over, and the band leaves the stage as quickly as it had arrived.
As it often happens when there is such a short setlist, the gig feels almost unfinished, the crowd refusing to leave for a few minutes as if waiting for the band to return in a ‘just kidding, here’s another song’ fashion, but no, Pale Waves have left, and they‘ve left us buzzing and wanting for more as we go to fetch our coats.
When the audience does leave, it does so with a sense of anticipation and wonder that can only come from the knowledge that we’ve just witnessed a band that will be selling out arenas, and when they inevitably do so, we’ll talk about how we once saw them in this tiny room. For now, all we can do is moan about how they’re not uploading songs to their Soundcloud, and how genuinely excited we are for their new EP.