PALE WAVES + HOT MILK + BITTERS – ROUNDHOUSE, CAMDEN, LONDON 28.2.22
Manchester’s Pale Waves seem to have come far in a short time, their first single being released in 2017 and now riding high on the back of their highly regarded second album, ‘Who Am I?’. After blowing away the likes of BBC Sounds and the NME with their debut album in 2018, this is undoubtedly an upwards projection, and they are skyrocketing.
The band sadly weren’t performing in Brighton as part of their UK tour, so we headed off to the Roundhouse in London to grab a butchers at this upwardly mobile band.
But before we get to the delights of the headliners, we’ve two support acts and first up is Bitters, hailing from Liverpool and just back from LA with the task of opening the show, and they kick things off nicely with a short but sweet eight-song set.
Bitters are alt-pop/rock reminiscent of a sound coming out of America in the late 90s. This is no bad thing topped off with the beautiful vocals courtesy of Claudia Mills, which evokes Wendy James and The Cardigans Nina Persson, and we have a crowd-pleasing set.
Highlights are opener ‘Sick’, the grooving ‘Cynical’, the up-tempo ‘Screwed Off’ with its Van Halen-esque guitar riff and set closer ‘Stole Your Car’, which you can check out on Spotify. I think we will be seeing more of this band in the future. Mills certainly has the look and the voice and is backed by a solid band.
‘Stacey’s Mom’ (cover)
‘Stole Your Car’
Find out more about Bitters HERE.
Main support tonight also comes from Manchester and are the emo power-pop Hot Milk and are fronted by Jim Shaw and Han Mee, both sharing vocals and guitar duties and backed up on bass by Tom Paton and on drums Harry Dellar.
As soon as they burst onto the stage and straight into the opening number, ‘Split Personality’, I knew straight away I was going to enjoy the set and far more than I’d imagined.
They have a lot in common with Wargasm, but are more melodic and sure know how to pen a catchy number. Live they come across a lot heavier than they are on record, which elevates them in my eyes even further.
They blast through a set culled from their latest EP and singles, and every track has the crowd going nuts. When Han Mee dons the guitar, she reminds me of a young Joan Jett, in a sleeveless white t-shirt, cream leather look pants and brothel creepers. She’s all sweat and swagger with enough energy to fuel a small country.
Hard to pick highlights as the whole set is so damn good but pushed would be ‘I Just Wanna Know What Happens When I’m Dead’ and ‘Glass Spiders’ with an honourable mention to new track ‘Bad Influence’, which is another crushing number and definitely not pop! So please do yourself a favour and catch this band live now before they explode.
Hot Milk setlist:
‘I Just Wanna Know What Happens When I’m Dead’
‘I Think I Hate Myself’
‘Candy Coated Lies’
‘Awful Ever After’
Find out more at www.hotmilk.co.uk
The band come on to some wild strobes, which light up the venue and burst into the hit ‘Change’, which soon gets this capacity crowd jumping. Vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie dressed in a stunning black satin top with feather cuffs, black calf-length platform boots and now sports a short blond hairstyle that complements the look with a fantastic black Vox guitar strapped across her shoulder. The vocalist is backed by second guitarist Hugo Silvani, bassist Charlie Wood and keeping the beat at the back, Ciara Doran.
The band powered through a sixteen track set cut from both the latest album and their debut with ‘Television Romance’ and ‘Eighteen’. They Sound as fresh as the later hits ‘Fall To Pieces’, ‘Easy’ and the aforementioned ‘Changes’ and get just as much respect from a crowd of mainly 20-somethings, who delight in singing back every word. I even saw a few tear-stained faces during the beautiful ‘Wish U Were Here’.
The night’s highlight for me, though, was new track ‘Jealousy’, which kicks things up a notch with a cracking heavy guitar riff and huge sing-along chorus and a future hit single if it gets the chance.
The set finishes with an encore of fan favourite ‘She’s My Religion’ and their first release, ‘There’s A Honey’, which perfectly tops off a fantastic night in Camden town.
A special mention needs to go out to the team behind the lighting design this evening, as it’s the most spectacular I’ve seen so far this year, not only lighting up the stage but also the incredible structure of the Roundhouse, from the back of the venue it just looks stunning.
Pale Waves setlist:
‘Fall To Pieces’
‘One More Time’
‘Wish U Were Here’
‘Odd Ones Out’
‘She’s My Religion’
‘There’s A Honey’
Find out more at www.palewaves.co.uk