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Review: Pale Waves @ the O2 Academy

On the first night of their UK and Ireland tour, Pale Waves play to an energetic, sold out crowd at Bristol O2 Academy.

By Isobel Turner, News Subeditor

On the first night of their UK and Ireland tour, Pale Waves play to an energetic, sold out crowd at Bristol O2 Academy.

The evening began with two support bands, the first of which was Bitters. Their alt-pop vibes were the perfect introduction for the night to come.

Secondly, Hot Milk burst onto the stage and ramped up the atmosphere. This emo-pop, duel-fronted band instantly turned up the energy in the room.

Isobel Turner, @dissonantrose

Finally, the main event, Pale Waves, entered the stage and played their first song on this tour which was ‘Change.’ This is a single from their most recent album which came out last year. The band consists of four members: Heather Baron-Gracie, Ciara Doran, Hugo Silvani and Charlie Wood. Who Am I (2021) is their second full length album and provided well-loved singles such as ‘Change’, ‘She’s my Religion’ and ‘Easy.’

However, this album was formed out of a difficult situation for the band. Following lockdowns, relationship issues and a near-fatal bus crash whilst on tour with Halsey, this album had a lot to make up for. This explains the roar of the crowd when Pale Waves finally made it back on stage; it was definitely a warm welcome back.

They also played many of their hits from their debut album My Mind Makes Noises (2018), as well as a couple of songs from their EP that preceded this. The fans were screaming the lyrics to every song, both old and new, showing the loyal fan base that Pale Waves have secured over the years.

Isobel Turner, @dissonantrose

The band pull influences from both the older pop-punk era and newer indie, synth pop music. Heather Baron-Gracie, vocalist and guitarist, seems to have shaped her sound and image as a homage to Paramore’s Hayley Williams. Her bold look on stage featuring high platformed boots, black skirt and a choker parallels the look that Williams created back in 2014, proving that women can be at the front the pop-punk industry and do not have to dress or create music in a stereotypically feminine way.

More recent synth-pop and indie influences such as from The 1975 is still very much evident in Pale Waves’ music. This is unsurprising due to their long term collaboration with Matty Healy. This intertwining of current popular genres with older ones creates a unique sound and a space for both the younger and older fans.

This acceptance could be felt within the atmosphere of the crowd on Friday. There was a mixture of ages and genders all greatly enjoying the performance that Pale Waves brought to the stage. This acceptance was accentuated by Heather wearing a pride flag from the crowd whilst singing She’s My Religion towards the end of the show.

It was a night of first class performance, catchy music and an incredible atmosphere - Pale Waves are not a band to be missed!

Featured image: Isobel Turner, @dissonantrose

Have you seen Pale Waves live?