Having played St Lukes in August, the O2 ABC is an appropriate step up in venue for Canadian band Alvvays, and based on this performance it’s easy to see why they’re now selling out larger venues. The room was already busy for the support from Glaswegian quintet Spinning Coins, although they do little to get the crowd going. It seems the early birds were more focussed on getting a good spot for the main attraction.
When Alvvays do appear, it isn’t long before the atmosphere lifts and everyone is gently shuffling along, with a group of enthusiastic boppers down the front. The crowd feels familiar to me. These are the people who were going wild at the Two Door Cinema Club headlined NME tour back in the day, but now we’re all a little older and wiser.
The simple visuals projected behind the band in bold primary colours are squishy and primal; I’m reminded of the evolution of cells under a microscope. The abstract, dreamlike quality perfectly matches the soft, spacey vocals and they’re interesting enough to draw my eye without pulling focus.
The whole performance is stripped back, with little conversation between songs aside from Rankin remarking on the difficulty of pronouncing ‘Sauchiehall Street’, something any non-Scot will be able to relate to. Although she isn’t chatty, Rankin is an engaging frontperson and her crystal clear vocals cut through the music beautifully. Alvvays are not a band about big personalities, and I really appreciate her understated presence as the driving force of the performance.
The set is a mix of tracks from Alvvays’s first self-titled album and their 2017 offering Antisocialites, but with only one track from Antisocialites unplayed it’s evident that this tour is the showcase for their new material. The newer tracks fit in seamlessly with the older ones. After opening appropriately with ‘Hey’, the mood is high throughout the set, though it’s definitely old favourites like ‘Archie Marry Me’ that really get everyone going,
Towards the end of the set they play ‘Dreams Tonight’ and the ABC’s enormous disco ball begins to spin, throwing glittering light all over the room. This is the magical moment I choose to put on my Snapchat story, and the positive response I got confirms it was the highlight of the gig.
The no-fuss encore consists of an Elastica cover and ‘Next of Kin’. It’s the perfect goodbye, leaving us all wanting a little more and in doing so ensuring that they’ll be back gracing another Glasgow venue soon. It’s a pacey, no-frills set which demonstrates Alvvays’s wide appeal. Based on their first two excellent albums, I’m certainly excited by the prospect of new music from these delicate and thoughtful musicians who already have a strong following hanging on their every riff.