November 18, 2022

Alvvays played The Bowery Ballroom

A night after playing the majestic Kings Theatre, Alvvays packed The Bowery Ballroom for a splendid, intimate performance that was pure spectacle.

Toronto's Alvvays have built up quite the reputation as an incendiary dream-pop act, capable of carrying the torch into an accessible lane where they've made the leap from indie darlings to marquee staples and their latest and greatest album, Blue Rev, has confirmed their status as rising heroes of their genre. Riding the wave of the record's massive success, the quintet pulled-off a dazzling set that vaulted their talents through the roof and affirmed their place as one the strongest showings of the year. Entering the stage to a pulsating glow and rather droning electronics, the group lashed into the lead single "Pharmacist" giving its double bass part prominent showing to create walls of sound that would only continue to build as the night progressed. It was an immediate success and did the most to build the hype for what was to follow. "After the Earthquake" was another peppy jam that continued to add to the energy of the night, the track's pace enough to keep momentum high as Molly Rankin's vocals began to tower. The blend of Alec O'Hanely's bleeding guitars and Kerri MacLellan's shimmering synths make for such sweet combos and Rankin adds serene polish which culminates in something absolutely blissed-out and full of euphoria. Their sound is already so lush on record, but live it breathes with much more purpose and detail, every extent highlighted to pure perfection. "Many Mirrors" was another spellbinding moment where every note hit just right, the walls of reverb layering with such perfection as the vocals got buried deep on the mix to allow the raging guitar tones to roar with fiery passion, the tremeloed effects swelling beyond compare to expose ragged moments of sublime intensity. For "Very Online Guy," Rankin took to her pedal board to smear her vocals with fuzzy distortion, giving even more texture to the band's already lavish sound as their more electronic tendencies shone through before blasts of guitar once again cut through with total force. "Tom Verlaine" and "Belinda Says" were two more guitar-pop sensations that screamed with talent and total control. Lashing out with such blazing guitar licks, the band is assertive in every move, their concentration unbreakable, but their joy also apparent. If it wasn't already clear, "Archie, Marry Me," their debut single, remains their biggest hit and tonight it was a total triumph that saw the crowd come to life with absolute elation as the night hit its emotional peak. A truly resounding moment, the response from the audience was life-affirming and full of unmatched bliss. Launching directly into "Pomeranian Spinster" maintained the energy level as the band raced away with controlled and confident determination, their carefully crafted tunes living their full glory as they're executed with raw power making for an absolutely mesmerizing experience. "Pressed" and "Easy On Your Own" continued to see the guitars swirl with astounding conviction, the entire night a staggering affair, putting their mark on the genre and asserting themselves as the defining group of the moment. As they continue to play larger venues and rise in festival font sizes, catching them in such a small room at the height of their powers was truly a special moment and witnessing a band transcend to the next level of their career is a time to remember forever.

Set list:

01 "Pharmacist"
02 "After the Earthquake"
03 "In Undertow"
04 "Many Mirrors"
05 "Very Online Guy"
06 "Adult Diversion"
07 "Not My Baby"
08 "Hey"
09 "Tom Verlaine"
10 "Belinda Says"
11 "Fourth Figure"
12 "Archie, Marry Me"
13 "Pomeranian Spinster"
14 "Pressed"
15 "Dreams Tonite"
16 "Party Police"
17 "Easy On Your Own?"
18 "Saved by a Waif"
19 "Atop a Cake"
20 "Lottery Noises"

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