Indie-pop is in rude health
Jessie Atkinson
09:23 21st August 2021

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It’s the sick in the sinks of the ladies toilets at O2 Academy Brixton that make me deduce the people at Circa Waves tonight received some excellent results in their A-Levels last week. The sick in the sinks and the raw joy on display, that is.

It’s the final night of Circa Waves’ long-delayed tour, outing their dual Sad Happy album release of 2020—and indie music is in rude health. As rude as a bubblegum, pop-leaning indie band can be, anyway.

After an accurately booked support slot from Scotland’s Vistas teeing up the main event, Circa Waves waste no time in getting splashy. A confetti canon erupts during the first song, making a beautiful horizon to display the raised hands of 4,000 students blissfully free of the restrictions that have mired their late adolescence.

Smartly, the band air only their most thrilling numbers to the room bar a touching rendition of 'The Way We Say Goodbye', for which many follow the instruction that it’s time to climb atop each others shoulders. From start to finish, the band are forensically tight, their spectacular light show adding to the feeling that Circa Waves take entertaining their fans very, very seriously. It's particularly impressive considering a number of Covid hold-ups have stalled rehearsals. 

‘Left Me’ is extra effective in a live setting, lifting the malaise of lockdown from the crowd; you can almost see it dissipating like vapour to the high ceilings of the Academy. When someone proposes close by, the happiness becomes almost delirious.

The songs are infectious, their delivery impeccable, and as closing encore tracks ‘Movies’ and ‘T-Shirt Weather’ (one of indie’s most enormous tracks in recent times) ring out, the band bow off stage. They may not be the most innovative or challenging of bands, but Circa Waves are there for those who want their music with a side order of serious fun. If that isn't you, perhaps you should refer yourself back to how it felt being eighteen and full of joy. 

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Photo: Tom Russell