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Circa Waves @ O2 Forum Kentish Town
3.6/FIVE

AS a soon-to-be university graduate, I’ve subconsciously spent a great deal of my final academic year attempting to relive my youth.

Once I had discovered that I couldn’t stay awake past midnight and even the sight of jägerbombs made me feel physically ill, I turned back to an old love of mine: indie music complete with brooding lead guitarists and angsty and nostalgic coming-of-age lyrics.

After being reintroduced to Circa Waves following a prolonged hiatus from the indie rock genre, I spontaneously bought tickets to see them live in London’s O2 Forum, Kentish Town.

Despite their best efforts to evolve into a more mature sound with their latest album, Different Creatures, it’s safe to say that the Liverpudlian four-piece still attract a young crowd. To be clear, I don’t mean edgy twenty-somethings with nose piercings. I mean pre-teens who have dragged their suffering parents along to what was basically a glorified school disco.

That said, the young crowd did remind me of what it was like to have a good time without the use of hard drugs or copious amounts of alcohol. Whereas most would likely sway or clap politely along to the lesser known supporting acts The Magic Gang and In Heaven, within five minutes there was an admirable attempt at a mosh pit and a poor sod who had collapsed from dehydration. Amateurs.

A little later than scheduled, in typical rock star fashion, Circa Waves filled the intimate venue with innovative guitar riffs and their trademark old school sound. Frontman Kieran Shudall remained largely silent throughout the set, apart from perpetually thanking the audience and throwing in the odd obscenity. You know, for the kids.

They reeled off a carefully selected list of tracks from their current album and their earlier debut that most are perhaps too young to remember, Young Chasers.

My friend, who I had unwillingly dragged along in exchange for enduring an Evanescence concert, had previously commented that all of their songs sounded the same. I think this is a reasonable impression to make of a lot of indie rock bands, but Circa Waves managed to manifest different vibes from the audience to shape their sound.

During Out on my Own, Shudall told everyone to put their arms around the person next to them (the person next to me was pouring with sweat and had barely made it out of primary school, so I politely refrained). What was initially a song I felt indifferent towards was transformed into an end of the night club crooner to rival the likes of Mr Brightside.

Other favourites included my all-time favourite track of theirs (check me out, I’m such a super-fan), My Love, alongside Fire that Burns and Stuck in My Teeth.

One song that I would’ve loved to hear, also my favourite from their new album, was Crying Shame. With lyrics expressing the beauty of childhood friendships, not to mention an awesome guitar dominated chorus, this was what I had been waiting to hear all night. Ironically, it was a crying shame that it never manifested (pun intended).

 

“Being in a mosh pit is a bizarre, almost primitive display of human interaction” 

 

In true school disco fashion, Shudall asked the crowd what they wanted the last song to be. With everyone there almost painfully indie, I thought they’d suggest something obscure that only die-hard fans would be aware of. On the contrary, they demanded Circa Waves’ most famous hit, and the one my Mum quite likes, T-Shirt Weather.

Determined to hold onto my youth if it killed me, I threw caution to the wind and went head first into the mosh pit whilst my friends stood on the sidelines. If you’ve ever been in a mosh pit and are still alive to tell the tale, you know it is a bizarre, almost primitive display of human interaction. I endured the hair pulling, pushing and shoving and the sweet smell of puberty in the air to well and truly “rock out” (am I showing my age yet?)

Whilst certainly different to the kind of concerts I’m used to, Circa Waves were lyrically and musically flawless, and reminds you there’s nothing quite like being up close and personal to a live band. Whether it was the youthful vibes or the amount of vodka I had been swigging out of the bottle, whatever Circa Waves did worked- and I ended the night feeling 18 again.