Alvvays rocks a sold-out 9:30 Club on Nov. 11, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)
The Canadian band Alvvays has been described over the years as indie pop, dream pop, shoegaze, but regardless of the labels Alvvays have — over three critically acclaimed albums — proven themselves to not only write beautifully crafted songs, full of that wool-blanket-on-a-cold-night canvas of sound, but also put on a spectacle of lights and projected images.
I hadn’t seen the band perform since years back on one of the first nights of their Antisocialites tour, but I recently was impressed at how this band has progressed at a sold-out night at 9:30 Club.
The band — consisting of singer/guitarist Molly Rankin, Alec O’Hanley on guitar, Kerri MacLellan on keys, Sheridan Riley on drums, and new-comer Abbey Blackwell on bass — took the stage as a late show with the openers, Slow Pulp, hitting the stage shortly after 10:30pm with a great set of indie rock-styled gems that had me searching for more the following day.
As the 9:30 Club quickly filled up, you could feel that sense of excitement that a band like Alvvays has cultivated in a relatively short time — a testament to the strong material the band has been putting out from earworms like the crowd pleaser, “Archie, Marry Me” on their debut to the fast groove of “After The Earthquake,” one of my favorites on the new album.
Counting off — one, two, three, four — the band jumped right into the lead single on the new album, “Pharmacist,” with its echoed vocals and blistering guitar capping off the relatively short but sweet song. One thing that Alvvays goes great is create that sense of energetic pop, coated in a layer of jangle and fuzz. And those sounds are indelibly infectious, worming their way into your brain with passion.
“Hello!” Molly, taking a breath in between songs, called out to the crowd. “It’s good to be back.” As the band started again, the entire back of the stage was illuminated with scenes of out the outdoors and floating patterns while the harmonies between Rankin, Kerri MacLellan (keyboards), and drummer Sheridan Riley were tight and sounded particularly strong in this completely packed club.
Watch the official music video for “Very Online Guy” by Alvvays on YouTube:
I always thought Alvvays had some genius-level songs, and maybe it was the passing of time since the last time I had seen this band perform, but hearing songs like “Dreams Tonight” and “Party Police” seemed to have a weight that kept me entranced throughout the night.
As I watched the band, I was struck by the how they have a knack for taking a groove, like in “After The Earthquake,” from the new record, with that sense of ’80s style jangle and then turn around on a dime to play something that gets you up and moving like “Pomeranian Spinster” or “Easy On Your Own?”
After finishing up the regular set with “Saved By a Waif,” Alvvays returned for an encore of “Atop A Cake” and “Lottery Noises.”
Alvvays continue their tour for their fantastic new album, Blue Rev, finishing up in the USA and then on to Canada and the UK.
The setlist included:
After the Earthquake
Very Online Guy
Not My Baby
Archie, Marry Me
Easy On Your Own?
Saved by a Waif
Atop a Cake
Here are more photos of Alvvays performing at the 9:30 Club on Nov. 11, 2022. All photos copyright and courtesy of David LaMason.
And here are some photos of Slow Pulp opening the evening.