words & photos: Lucas Hackett @lucas_packett_photography
“.. got the capacity crowd’s feet moving, phone cameras out..”
It’s another bone-chilling Melbourne winter evening that sees a long queue of punters hold formation, single file, outside the Corner Hotel, awaiting entry. Tonight is the second show in Melbourne for Canadian jangle-pop outfit Alvvays and marks the first trip back to our shores since the release of their acclaimed second album ‘Antisocialites’.
Support for the evening had been billed as Sydney’s Body Type, but upon arrival discovered they had been a late scratching and replaced by local Melbourne band Jade Imagine. Jade McInally, also known as a touring member from Teeth and Tongue, fronts the act, although somewhat depleted tonight.
Due to a presumably late call up, their drummer, as McInally, states, “had already booked a holiday and couldn’t change their plans, so tonight we are a three-piece.” Seemingly undeterred by this omission, Jade Imagine saw it as a chance to play a more mellow set minus drums (and bass), which in turn allowed for the nicely crafted songs to breath a little more. The short 30-minute set saw a bunch of tunes, warming the mostly millennial crowd suitably.
After a short break and stage reset, the red velvet curtains parted as Alvvays opened with Hey, Adult Diversion and In Undertow. The five-piece were quick to move from pop tune to pop tune, although allowing for some stage banter, greetings and an opportunity to thank Jade Imagine for stepping in. Songwriting and life partners Molly Rankin (vocals) and Alec O’Hanley (lead guitar) have an obvious connection, which is visible in how they perform bringing depth and soul to the performance.
Although Alvvays have only existed in this form for a handful of years, they have garnered a solid following, had a number of key supports and gained recognition from the press and peers alike. While only releasing two albums in their career, the upside of this is that at their shows, as Rankin mentioned, “means there’s a high chance of you hearing your favorite track.”
Fan favorite, Archie, Marry Me, lifted from their 2014 debut self-titled album got the capacity crowd’s feet moving, phone cameras out and coupled with solid tracks like Plimsoll Punks and Dreams Tonite were sing-alongs.
I was largely taken by O’Hanley’s solid guitar tone, intricate reverb soaked jangle, dirty buzz and loud/soft dynamics which are key to Alvvays overall sound, backed by a solid rhythm section and sweet vocal combinations. It seems obvious that Alvvays are enjoying their dream-jangle-pop ride, seeing where this wave takes them next.