Live Review Circa Waves, Forum, London  31st March 2017

Circa Waves, Forum, London

There’s no doubt the band are now well and truly ‘Different Creatures’.

It’s a momentous night for Circa Waves as they descend upon a packed Kentish Town in the wake of latest record ‘Different Creatures’. Ditching the sunny indie-pop of debut ‘Young Chasers’ in favour of darker guitar riffs and heavier subject material, the four-piece impress with good old-fashioned guitar rock that leaves London breathless.

Starting the night off are INHEAVEN and The Magic Gang, who hardly need any introduction to the packed crowd. INHEAVEN are as ethereal and dreamy as ever, refusing to be pigeon-holed to any singular genre. ‘Drift’ is a sad-yet-summery melancholic tune while ‘Regeneration’ is a raging, riotous punk thriller. The Magic Gang play with utter ease in front of the 2,300-strong crowd, exuding an effortless charm during their set - which includes fan-favourites ‘No Fun’ and ‘Jasmine’.

The Circa Waves that take to the stage tonight are different than the Circa Waves of even a year ago. The blood red backdrop – the artwork of their new record – sets the tone and feel of the night. The first riffs of ‘Wake Up’ are bigger and bolder than they have ever gone. Even the band are decked out head-to-toe in black. There’s a certain ‘AM’-era Alex Turner swagger about frontman Kieran Shudall, an increased sureness. Circa Waves are a band on a mission, setting their own narrative, and there’s no stopping them.

Though the band’s bigger, darker, and heavier tunes are very much a conscious effort on their part to stray way from the lighter, sun-kissed sounds of their debut, the band make sure to even out the night with old favourites. ‘Get Away’, ‘Young Chasers’ and ‘Lost It’ are played early on, high-energy bangers that radiate breathless feel-good vibes. The high-energy guitar pop is infectious, and every word that Kieran sings is sung back to band ten times louder by the crowd. 

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After ‘Fossils’, the atmosphere of the room turns from bright-eyed guitar rock to darker, ruthless numbers with high intensity. The vicious awakenings of ‘Stuck’, ‘Different Creatures’ and ‘Fire that Burns’ contain more profound lyrical insight, a foray into deeper subject matter. 

For ‘Goodbye’, Kieran asks the crowd: “I want to see the biggest fucking moshpit you’ve ever made in your entire lives.” And boy, do they deliver.

An encore sees Kieran performing ‘Love’s Run Out’ acoustic and solo, the emotionally raw album standout.

“What song do you want to hear now?” Kieran then asks the crowd, to which there is only one answer: “T-SHIRT WEATHER!!!!!”

“Oh, right,” he grins as the band launch into their best-loved hit. It’s a night that proves the band are ever-evolving and risk-taking, wanting to test new boundaries with darker material. But sometimes, when you’ve got a classic under your belt that sends London into a frenzied state, you just have to play it with your heart on your sleeve. But there’s no doubt, however, that Circa Waves are now well and truly ‘Different Creatures’. 

Photos: Caroline Quinn