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Live Review: Pale Waves

Updated: Dec 17, 2022

25th November 2022 - Albert Hall, Manchester

Shot of the stage at Albert Hall, Manchester. Pale Waves logo can be seen on the set backdrop, framed with blue lighting. Instruments are set up on the stage, ready for Pale Waves to start their performance.

From their ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ album to their recent album release of ‘Unwanted’, Pale Waves electrified the crowd with a defiant expression of raw and dark emotion, unapologetic symphonies and bold inspiring tracks full of power and attitude at their homecoming gig in Manchester on Friday night. The four-piece band including lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie, Drummer Ciara Doran, Guitarist Hugo Silvan and bassist Charlie Wood, took to the sloping floors of the Albert Hall. Through the coloured glass roof lights, gothic features and an organ as the staging backdrop, it was pretty clear that the Albert Hall was in fact the perfect venue for Pales Waves to be performing in. The final song on the setlist before hitting the encore, ‘She’s My Religion’, was the ultimate accolade, as Heather voiced ‘now this needs to be perfect considering we’re in a church’ and then laughed.

The opening song was the edgy, emo, rock-pop track from their recent album ‘Unwanted’; titled ‘Lies’ - the first track on the album. A song that expresses a tough time frame yet somehow is turned in to an empowering, euphoric feeling, especially during the live performance. Hugo and Charlie thrived on guitar riffs before Ciara kicked up a beat on the drums, to which then Heather made her first appearance on stage, wearing her black pleated skater skirt, shiny black PVC boots and cross choker, ready to kick ass on the Albert Hall stage. Bringing a different kind of religion to the stage…one of a Pale Waves variety.

Myself and my friend were situated on the seated balcony section. It was my first time attending the venue, and what an impressive venue it is. We had enough space to stand too. We had the perfect view of the stage and it’s surroundings and I was highly impressed to say the least, I didn’t even pay any extra for the balcony section. You’d assume that there’s always one concert goer who ruins the whole experience, but not on that night. Well…certainly not where we were. Everyone was enjoying the diversity, sharing the love and engaging with other people, including Pale Waves.

While queuing for the concert, fans were passing coloured paper hearts down the line with the words of, ‘hold up during the second chorus of She’s My Religion’ on, even this had a wonderful impact during the performance of this track. Heather and her band members were somewhat surprised and shocked that somebody had gone to all the effect of cutting out paper hearts, writing on the hearts and then handing them out. As they say, it’s the simple things that make all the difference.

From breakups to make ups, from beauty to attitude, Pale Waves fetched all that from three of their albums to the main stage. 'Television Romance', the fifth track on the setlist, encapsulated Pale Waves from their very first debut album giving us an all an understanding on why Pale Waves are in fact one of the most adored and fast improving bands in the country. During ‘Television Romance’ Heather called out ‘I love you Manchester’ to which the crowd responded with nothing but content calling out the words of ‘We love you Heather’ from that moment I was adamant that I was going to attend another Pale Waves concert in the future.

Their acoustic set of ‘The Hard Way’ had Heather going off stage to put a change of clothes on. As she re-appeared back on stage wearing her long black faux PVC coat the performance began with Heather down on her knees, her face filled with pure emotion while singing the heartfelt track. It was clear that Heather was musically passing on an important message to her fans as she called out how we should all reach out to each other during times of need. The emotion filled the gothic walls of the Albert Hall as vivid blue lights beamed down on stage and flew over the heads of many fans. Pale Waves were definitely finishing the concert off with a meaningful message before Heather rocked her bleached blonde hair to ‘Jealousy’, a track that got everyone singing and jumping. Heather then came down from the stage to engage with the fans who were at the front of the barriers.

Pale Waves are a sparkling black guitar driven pop band with the best heavy applied black make up out there, who bring dark emotion, colourful pathways and guidance throughout their music to their fans, old and new. They write and perform with personal depth, covering subjects of new beginnings, self reflection, love and romance, break ups, sexuality and mental health. It’s no doubt that in the future Pale Waves will make it successfully to the bigger stages. They’re more confident in themselves and their music than they’ve ever been and their fast improvement is really starting to show.

I would most certainly recommend attending a Pale Waves concert…before ticket prices eventually become extortionate anyway. If queuing till 11pm for a concert tee before being escorted out the premises by security staff doesn’t prove that it was a good night, then I don’t know what will.

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