Review and photography by Gunnar Mallon

Kicking off their UK tour, Circa Waves came to the o2 Academy in Sheffield to entertain with their high-energy and fun alternative rock and to perform songs from their latest release ‘Different Creatures’. Support on the tour comes from two promising acts, INHEAVEN and The Magic Gang, each of which brought their own following with them.

Circa Waves at O2 Academy Sheffield

It is always great to see a band touring with two relatively well know support acts and when the lights dimmed and the house music stopped, the O2 Academy was already three quarters full with fans anticipating the fine grungy alternative rocky punk tunes of INHEAVEN that would not have been amiss in the 80’s.

INHEAVEN at O2 Academy Sheffield

INHEAVEN at O2 Academy Sheffield

From the first song on, the audience became alive with the predominantly teenage crowd up on each others shoulders, singing along to the fun zesty songs of the four-piece from South London. INHEAVEN performed with infectious good vibes and the set was over just as they were in full swing in what seemed a much too short a time. I for one wanted to hear more of this young band who co-headlined the Neu Tour in 2015 alongside Vant and The Big Moon.

After a short interval, The Magic Gang from the New Forest took to the stage to the thunderous applause and shouts from the adoring crowd. Like INHEAVEN, The Magic Gang brought its own loyal fanbase who sang along to every song and jumped around from the first riff. With a polished and more commercial radio-ready set, the poppy funk at times came across as a little generic but it played to the crowds tastes, who enjoyed every minute of it. At times,The Magic Gang’s vibes reminded me of an up-beat Roy Orbison, with songs such as ‘Blue For You’. The last song of the set, ‘All I Want Is You’, saw the first crowd surfers, which was a rather sedate sight given the relatively slow pace of the song.

The Magic Gang at O2 Academy Sheffield

The Magic Gang at O2 Academy Sheffield

Circa Waves took to the stage with the deafening cheers from the teenage crowd and when the band launched into ‘Wake Up’, the audience truly did wake up and the Academy erupted in a rhythmic sea of fans jumping to ever bass drum beat, enough to probably register on a local seismologists equipment.

Circa Waves at O2 Academy Sheffield

Circa Waves at O2 Academy Sheffield

The lack of concert experience showed with the young crowd to the point that singer Kieran Shudall had to remind them that “if someone falls, pick ‘em up or we’ll stop playing until you do” – wise words to avoid anyone getting hurt while everyone still gets to enjoy the gig.

Circa Waves brought the complete package on Saturday night combining excellent fast-paced alternative rock tunes with well choreographed light displays. Special lighting effects and overall choice of colours perfectly matched the tone and atmosphere of the songs they were accompanying.

Circa Waves at O2 Academy SheffieldCirca Waves at O2 Academy Sheffield

Circa Waves at O2 Academy Sheffield

Circa Waves had clearly worked very hard on producing a spectacular evening for the audience in every way possible. This was also reflected in the volume and balance of the sound. The music was loud but at a perfect volume that let the vocals and every other instrument shine in their own right to produce the crisp and cutting sound that the band is known for.

Throughout the evening the crowd was fully engaging with the band, singing along to every song, at times taking over the chorus entirely, crowd surfing, and bopping around without break. However, it wasn’t only the audience that enjoyed themselves, the band was jumping around on stage in equal measures and appeared to be savouring every moment of the show themselves.

Circa Waves at O2 Academy Sheffield

Circa Waves at O2 Academy Sheffield

Fifty minutes into the show, Shudall announced “this is the first time that we’re playing this one live” referring to the title track of their latest album ‘Different Creatures’. The crowd initially fell silent but soon started singing along as many will have listened to their excellent new album, which was released two days prior to the start of the tour, many times over before the show.

After ‘A Night On Broken Tiles’ and ‘Stuck In My Teeth’, the four disappeared and the stage fell into darkness. Breaking with tradition, there were only timid shouts for an encore from the crowd. They clearly new that the band had not played their biggest hits yet.

Circa Waves at O2 Academy Sheffield

Circa Waves at O2 Academy Sheffield

Circa Waves at O2 Academy Sheffield

A few minutes later, Shudall reappeared on stage armed only with an acoustic guitar to perform the slow love song Love Runs Out with his vulnerable soft voice. The show came to a close on Circa Waves’ undoubtedly biggest hit, ’T-Shirt Weather’ which saw the O2 Academy erupt once more into a wild musical orgy.

All round, the audience and band members were treated to a fantastic evening of high-quality polished musical performances from three excellent bands. The tour continues across the UK until the end of April, so make sure to catch them when they pass near you.


Setlists:

INHEAVEN:

All There Is
Baby’s Alright
Vultures
Treats
Drift
Bitter Town
World on Fire
Regeneration

The Magic Gang:

She Won’t Ghost
All This Way
Only Waiting
No One Else
How Can I Compete
Alright
Jasmine
Blue For You
All That I Want Is You

Circa Waves:

Wake Up
Get Away
So Long
Lost It
Goodbye
Out on my Own
Young Chasers
Fossils
Stuck
My Love
Different Creatures
A Night on the Broken Tiles
Stuck in my Teeth

Love Runs Out
Fire That Burns
T Shirt Weather

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