On October 27, the Toronto band Alvvays performed at Isaac’s Bar & Grill. In the past two years, this band went from relative anonymity to the focal point of Toronto’s Indie music scene. I saw them perform last year in Toronto at the Danforth Music Hall and I recall coming away from that concert slightly under-whelmed. The band’s regular soft, dreamy and organized sound that I became accustomed to was not the sound produced by the group during the live performance.
The self-proclaimed jangle-pop band sounded much more dirty and lo-fi, with tons of reverb and distortion as if they were playing a garage band version of their set list. I was disappointed from that show because I wasn’t expecting such a stark difference between their recording and live sounds; they were almost opposite sonically. However, for this past week’s show I went in with this expectation and I enjoyed the concert so much more!
Molly Rankin, the lead singer, made hilarious comments about university life in between her songs and she sounded extremely genuine while interacting with the crowd. Again, they had a more lo-fi feel but this time it was much more honest and rooted in their original genre. Lovers of indie enjoyed the familiar melodies and sharp guitar of Alec O’Hanley. People danced, sung along and truly enjoyed the excited ambiance created by the performance. The band even performed a new song, titled “Blah Blah Blah” which could potentially find its way on an upcoming album release. One of the final songs, “Red Planet”, was performed by Molly spotlit alone on stage accompanied by very soft synths. This intimate rendition allowed her to project her voice fully and create a sweet and soulful atmosphere for the crowd to sway along to in a trancelike rapture.
If you’re someone who enjoys dreamy indie rock, this band is a must hear. I’d compare them to a more alternative version of the Cranberries. Check out songs from their 2014 self-titled album, in particular: “Archie, Marry Me”, “Atop a Cake”, “Party Police” or “The Agency Group”. Also, if you lend yourself to this style of music and are looking for more bands to check out, I recommend listening to Beach Fossils, Mac Demarco or Father John Misty.
- Nicholas Blasiak