Review: Circa Waves @ Riverside

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Circa Waves

Just nine days after releasing their sunny debut album Young Chasers, Circa Waves kicked off their UK tour with an electrifying night of soaring choruses and rowdy mosh pits at one of Newcastle’s most thriving venues, Riverside.

A sea of teenagers were gathered eagerly at the barrier early enough to catch support firstly from fresh-faced, jaunty newcomers Rat Boy. With infectious hooks and a twang of Jamie T, these boys had the crowd in the palm of their hands from the get-go. The prospect of being on tour with a band doing as well as Circa Waves seemed overwhelming to these youngsters but they drank in every single second – they even threw themselves excitedly into the front of the crowd with the rest of the rabble in time for second support band, Gengahr.

This night marks the fourth time I’ve caught Gengahr live in the past year and I’ve been fixated each time. Their sound is quite unlike anything else around at the moment, mainly down to frontman Felix Bushe’s tender falsetto vocals adding dreamy tones to create a riveting, blissful set. Fresh from touring Europe with Alt-J, Gengahr put a sleek twist on what people consider to be this decade’s generic indie music. They may have shook the crowd out of the excitable riot Rat Boy brought with them, but they were a treat to see live nevertheless.

From the roar of the crowd as the lights cut out though, for those fans who’d queued outside in the cold, it was all about Circa Waves. The album’s title track made for a scorching start – the mass of adoring youths burst into frenzy as the band scattered around stage and hopped onto speakers, towering over the vivacious crowd beneath them.

Although this band are musically very current and certainly exhilarating, the atmosphere in Riverside took me back to my early days of gigging. It was so raw and so carefree – there wasn’t one bad feeling in there. Circa Waves’ sound radiates positivity and it felt uplifting to be part of such a united audience.

A highlight of the evening came mid-way through the set with noisy single, Fossils. Sure, it’s as typical as indie-rock songs come, but it was utterly infectious. Fuzzy guitars and frontman Kieran Shudall’s charmingly casual vocals brought the song to life with the energy and spirit of a band playing their last ever show.

Get Away was the last song of the set, prompting a huge sing-along and an explosion of dancing, pushing, moshing and screaming. This may be just the start of Circa Waves’ career but if they’ve started as they mean to go on, they’re a band with potential to cause a splash all over the world.