Alvvays a good time

Photo by Will Huang

Photo by Will Huang

Indie music can be a fickle thing.

With new bands coming to the spotlight every few months, some can get lost in the mix — regardless of the critical acclaim and hype they received the previous year. Alvvays fits this mold.

When their self-titled album was released in 2014, publications like Rolling Stone called it “sharply drawn indie-pop wonder, steeped in romance, wit and melody.” The band was even nominated for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize, a form of recognition bestowed to albums of the highest artistic integrity.

Alvvays once again brought their live show to Starlight on October 28 with openers Taylor Knox and Nap Eyes. The show as a whole was a comfortable time; it would be hard to argue that anyone walked away feeling disappointed.

Starting the evening off, Taylor Knox delivered a set that showed a lot of promise for the rising artist. His stage presence relaxed, following the summery, guitar-oriented grooves that dominated tightly-kept harmonies. Following the release of his first solo EP Lines back in March, the Canadian rock scene can expect big things from this artist.

If Knox got the ball rolling with his performance, Nap Eyes certainly left it feeling stagnant. This by no means indicates that the Halifax-based band had a poor performance. Their music was a mix of The Velvet Underground with some folk to mellow, which the crowd received warmly.

However the level of enthusiasm displayed by the band matched Starlight’s cobwebs that were up in the spirit of the upcoming weekend. There was little to no interaction with the audience or any noticeable components to their set in which to get the crowd excited for the evening.

Overall, Nap Eyes was true to their name, putting people to bed like a lullaby drenched in long hair and jangly rock. One of the most memorable and fun components of Nap Eyes was the uncanny similarities their bass player had to 1994–era Dave Grohl.

Alvvays took to the stage and for the first time of the evening the audience finally started to show some excitement, offering a roaring cheer to welcome the band on stage. The strong applause also accompanied the ending of each song, a strong signal of the approval of the set.

Making their set something fresh and appealing was certainly one of the hurdles Alvvays faced.

With their only studio album consisting of nine songs, they had to rely on some stage antics and strong musicianship to keep the audience interested. The banter of front woman Molly Rankin between songs served as a way to help extend their set time.

One of the highlights from the night wasn’t from the band, but the venue. The quality of sound coming through their public address systems was crystal clear and in perfect equilibrium.

The treble, mid and bass were all balanced in tandem with one another that helped to highlight the smaller nuances in each band’s sound.

It was that quality of sound engineering that helps bring an enjoyable listening experience to performers and audiences alike.

For every time the evening seemed stagnant, there followed moments in which a performance would pick up. Although at times Nap Eyes was static in their sound, both them and Knox served as appropriate openers for Alvvays.

Mixed with the high quality sound delivered by Starlight, Alvvays was able to deliver a set that was anything but unsteady.

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