When you overhear someone at an Alvvays gig describe the band as “The perfect soundtrack to Grey’s Anatomy”, the initial reaction may be to think “What.The.Fuck?”. However, in hindsight it may not have been that far off the mark. While the show itself is mind-numbingly, and vomit-inducingly awful, it does have a good track record for using decent tunes. Alvvays have that melancholically uplifting indie rock sound which would probably fit perfectly in one of those “I love you, I don’t love you, lets cry and then have sex, then cry again” montages that the show is renowned for.
Anyway, enough of that. Alvvays made their way to Austria to perform under a train track for the first time ever on Thursday night to celebrate Teenbeat Club Concerts 8th Birthday.
The band are no unknown quantity to music geeks across the world, making it into the top 50 of The Rolling Stones charts, but they are not exactly a household name, yet. Hits like “Archie, Marry me”, which was given some heavy playing time on FM4 recently, ensured that this birthday bash was a sell-out though. B72 isn’t the biggest of venues, and when it is at capacity you really do feel it, and everyone, literally.
Fellow Canadians Moon King opened the evening to a full crowd and their performance was better than a lot of headliners we’ve seen play on B72’s stage over the years.
Their blend of indie noise pop managed to attract the attention of the crowd instantly as they played songs off their upcoming “Secret Life”, which is released on April 14th. Our only regret was not being able to elbow our way through the masses to get a closer look at this band.
Thank god for smokers
Before the last chords of Moon King’s last sound had even finished the smokers were marching single-mindedly to the bar to light up, allowing us to grasp the moment and get up close and personal for Alvvays. What could have been mistaken for an air of coolness or even arrogance as the band took to the stage in unimpressed fashion was actually exhaustion. This was one of the last gigs on their tour, and the band had expressed earlier in the afternoon that they were feeling too tired to give interviews, so we’ll forgive the rather lethargic start to their set, as lead singer Molly Rankin struggled to force a smile.
Lethargic is not a word we would use to describe the crowd that turned up for the gig though, and it didn’t take long for the band to be consumed by the exuberance of the front rows that danced, bounced, sang and even crowd-surfed to their songs. “You guys are the best crowd yet, and I don’t just say that to everyone” was the reaction from Molly as the smile returned to face, the spring in her step, and the songs became more and more energetic. “Archie, Marry Me” was of course the show-stealer as its unbelievably catchy sing-a-long-ability washed over the crowd and turned them into one unit, singing along in unison.
You know that a band is enjoying their evening when they almost forget to wish their bassist happy birthday, thankfully Molly was able to avoid a rather uncomfortable backstage discussion by throwing in the information at the very last minute before their last song, and the crowd gallantly burst into a round of “Happy Birthday”.
The year may still be young, and Teenbeat still have a lot of impressive names on their program for 2015, but Alvvays will be a gig which they will remember for a long time, for all the right reasons.