After touring alongside some of the biggest musicians in the world right now and playing at some of the hottest festivals of 2019, My Mind Makes Noises foursome, Pale Waves, were back in Manchester for a homecoming show of their debut album.

Back in Manchester where it all started for the band a year later since their last headline gig in the city, Heather, Ciara, Hugo and Charlie were welcomed back with open arms at the Manchester Academy. With brief visits to the city earlier in the year showcasing their dreamy indie-pop to crowds for The 1975 at the arena and Muse at the Etihad Stadium, Pale Waves have been producing tidal waves across the music industry and beyond.

It was a rainy September evening, and after a hefty half-hour wait in the box office queue to collect tickets (meaning I missed Sports Team’s set too), both my clothes and spirits had been dampened (sort this out Manchester Academy!).

Feeling as though I was late to the party, I walked into the humid Academy and the scents of beer and fruit cider hit me like a tonne of bricks. Drunk teens loitered around the toilets as the older crowd hung around the back of the concert hall out of harm’s way cradling their plastic pint cups.

Edging my way towards the front so I could get a glimpse of the stage, I positioned myself just in time as the lights dimmed. With an ambient synth filling the room, four figures eagerly made their way onto the stage before plunging into the glossy synth-pop track, ‘Eighteen’, ironically the first line; ‘this city depresses me’.

Leaving no room for slowing down the pace, Pale Waves tore through some of their most popular and buoyant tracks instantaneously, sparking mass singalongs to arguably the band’s most renowned track, ‘Television Romance’. It’s incredible to see how well Pale Waves’ stage presence has improved too, with frontwoman, Heather, in constant conversation with the crowd.

Not forgetting the older tracks, it was also refreshing to hear ‘Tide’, one of the band’s very first tunes still getting the recognition it deserved. Placed side by side next to an unreleased track, it was great to see how their sound has evolved over the years.

As one of my favourite tunes, ‘Drive’ was a highlight of the evening as the crowd reciprocated the emotive lyrics ‘I drive fast so I can feel something’ at the top of their voices in unison. My once dampened spirits had since long gone and had been replaced by uplifting pop melodies. Heather’s rendition of ‘Karl’ was also a raw and chilling standout performance, as she openly and honestly sang about the passing of her Grandad to her family that had come to see the performance that evening.

With ‘Noises’ and ‘There’s A Honey’ left to conclude, Pale Waves’ performance was never short of a dull moment. Signed to Dirty Hit Records, and The 1975’s Matty Healy heavily involved with some of the band’s songs, admittedly some of Pale Waves’ tracks were a little too close to copying the globally recognised group, but I look forward to their second album to hopefully see them pave their own path away from that.

I have to admit, after seeing Pale Waves on previous occasions supporting The 1975, I was a little sceptical about seeing their own show as I always thought their stage presence and live sound was missing something and they were trying too hard to mimic The 1975. However, after leaving all preconceptions behind, I was blown away by how captivating and inspiring this band really are. From the 80’s driven drums sounding wonderfully rounded and wholesome, to the catchy guitar, bass and synth licks combined with Heather’s distinctly recognisable vocals, Pale Waves are a force to be reckoned with and I will most definitely be back for their next tour.

Abigail White

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