Liverpudlian Indie Rockers Circa Waves arrived at a sold-out O2 Academy Brixton for the final night of a tour that took a gruelling 16 months to complete. Originally starting in March 2020, to launch their new album “Sad Happy”, Lockdown forced the cancellation of the majority of the tour. Happily, some of the shows were re-scheduled, which brings us to the O2 Academy Brixton on an August Friday in 2021. Anticipation was high, as the band have built quite a reputation and fanbase over time, and the area around the venue was busy with fans waiting for the doors to open. The crowd were well-marshalled by a friendly, polite, and patient security queue and everyone had to show evidence, via the NHS app mainly, of double vaccination, recent negative lateral flow test, or a positive test at least 10 days earlier. Once inside, there was clearly a feeling of “It’s good to be back” and the venue filled up quickly.
After sets by two fine support acts, Circa Waves appeared on stage through a haze of smoke and lights launching into “Wake Up” as the smoke cleared and two Confetti Cannons covered the crowd in strips of glitter paper. That crowd already had hands in the air and mosh-pits were breaking out, such is the support this band attracts and rightly so. After that explosive start, Circa Waves kept the momentum up with “Get Away”, “Fossils”, “Be Your Drug” and “Sorry I’m Yours” with frontman Kieran Shudall expressing how good it felt to be back playing to so many people, the audience enthusiastically agreeing with that sentiment. Before “Sad Happy”, title track of the latest album, Kieran called for Brad and Reece (?) to make themselves known. Somewhere in the middle of the crowd, Brad went down on one knee and the proposal was made and accepted. After that brief interlude, the band picked the pace up again, powering through “Sad Happy” before encouraging the crowd to sing along to “Move to San Francisco”, which they did with gusto. The rest of the set followed the same course, magnificent light show and the crowd singing along again on “Lemonade” before random crowd surfers started appearing in the crowd. “Goodbye” and “The Way we Say Goodbye” kept fans hands and phones in the air before Circa Waves closed the main set with absolute crowd-pleaser “Jaqueline”. Of course that was never going to be enough for a sold out show, and the Band returned to the stage with “Movies” and “T Shirt Weather” before sending the crowd home happy.
Both support acts did a grand job in warming up the crowd ahead of the man act, and it’s fair to say there were a lot of fans of all three bands at the Show. The venue was already two-thirds full before the first act, fellow Liverpudlians Red Rum Club opened proceedings. The sextet slipped on stage almost unnoticed before Joe Corby unleashed a mighty Trumpet clarion to start “Angeline” from their 2019 debut album Matador. That trumpet appeared often in their songs, adding a western flavour to a fine collection of alternative pop songs. The thirty minute, 7 song, set featured two songs, Latest single “NightCalling” and “Vibrate”, from their forthcoming album “How to Steal the World”.
Edinburgh indie trio Vistas, with an unnamed drummer, were up next. Fresh from the release of their second Album “What Were You Hoping To Find” the band were revved up and ready to perform, kicking off with “Starting Again” from the latest album before playing a mix of songs from both albums. By this stage, the venue was approaching capacity and the crowd were fully behind the band as they romped through their set finishing up with definite crowd pleasers “Retrospect” and “Tigerblood.
Overall, three fine performances from three bands that are definitely on the way up, and seeing the beaming, sweaty faces leaving the venue at the end it was a case of Sad – No, Happy – Yes!.
Circa Waves are : Kieran Shudall (Guitar, Vocals) / Sam Rourke (Bass) / Colin Jones (Drums) / Joe Falconer (Guitars)
Setlist: Wake Up / Get Away / Fossils / Be Your Drug / Sorry I’m Yours / Sad Happy / Move to San Francisco / Fire That Burns / Lemonade / Young Chasers / Goodbye / Stuck in My Teeth / The Way We Say / Goodbye / Jacqueline. Encore: Movies / T-Shirt Weather
Vistas are : Prentice Robertson (Vocals) / Dylan Rush (Guitar) / Jamie Law (Bass)
Setlist: Start Again / The Love You Give / Dayglow / Sucker / 15 Years / Calm / Retrospect / Tigerblood
Red Rum Club are : Francis Doran (lead vocals) / Tom Williams (guitar, backing vocals) / Michael McDermott (guitar, backing vocals) / Simon Hepworth (bass guitar) / Neil Lawson (drums, percussion) / Joe Corby (trumpet)
Setlist: Angeline / Ballerino / Nightcalling / Vibrate / Eleanor / Kids Addicted / Would You Rather Be Lonely?