Sunday 30 September 2018

my favourite obsession: pale waves at manchester ritz

after what can only be described as one of the most dramatic weeks of my life, it only made sense that it ended with a pale waves show.

my last time seeing them was somewhat disappointing as i only knew two of the songs they played and my view was mostly obstructed by a sea of six foot tall boys who stood in front of us just before they took to the stage. 

this time was different. 

for a start, their long awaited album my mind makes noises was released in plenty of time for me to learn all the words, and that i did. since its release on the 14th september it's pretty much all i've listened to, and now the show's over i don't plan on stopping any time soon. 

secondly, upon arrival at the ritz, we ventured up to the top floor, and i'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner. with the bar and toilets just a few paces away and a perfect view of the stage, it was how every gig should be, and for the first time ever i left a venue without that familiar ache in my feet and back as we were sat down the whole time. 

once we settled in with our beverages of choice, we watched king nun thrash around the stage, the lyrics of their punk rock tracks largely incomprehensible, but the second act did not disappoint. 

the lead singer of swimming girls - known only as vanessa from what i can find online - glided onto the stage with all the poise of a saint laurent model - blonde hair effortlessly tousled, the kind of eye makeup that would make robert smith jealous, and the longest legs i've ever seen on anyone - and the band launched into a short but mesmerising set. 

formed while studying in bath, the band bonded over their love of "70s and 80s nostalgia", describing their sound as "dark dream pop". i could certainly hear the influences of cocteau twins, the cure and of course pale waves. every song was a dream, but my favourites were beneath you - in which vanessa calls out a lover with some kind of god complex - and 2 kids, which is an ode to a short-term relationship. 

then it was time for the main event. 

i decided not to look at the setlist so had no idea which album tracks would be played, and overall i was happy with the ones they chose. came in close, one more time and red made the cut, as well as black, which i have a new found love for after seeing it live. 

other highlights include opener television romance and there's a honey, their first Proper Single which closed the show. the nostalgia continued with heavenly, the first ever track i heard from them, way before they were snapped up by dirty hit and collaborating with the 1975. emotions ran high during noises - in which heather tries to reckon with her insecurities - and my obsession, one of my favourite songs. luckily they didn't play karl though, as i wouldn't have made it through the song without Losing My Shit. 

the only song missing was drive, which is by far my favourite pale waves song. i had no idea if they would play it anyway but it seems they swapped it out for fan favourites she and new year's eve, so i'll have to be content with playing it at full volume everywhere i go. 

overall though, the band didn't disappoint and heather was enthralling as always. her outfit was particularly excellent and i've made a mental note to try and find a pair of bright red trousers to pair with my usual all black ensembles. i'd like to think the show was extra special to them as it was in their hometown, and heather appeared to confirm this on twitter

the sky's the limit for the four piece and i'm counting down the days until i see them support the 1975 in january.

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