Although their debut single was only released two and a half years ago, half•alive embarked upon their first world tour in August, starting in Sydney before journeying through their native North America and mainland Europe, and will conclude in Glasgow in a few weeks’ time.
During their stint in Europe, half•alive have been supported on the ‘Now, Not Yet’ tour by Apre, an English alternative duo from Kent. The pair played up to the packed crowd at the o2 Institute3 in Birmingham, who were more than receptive to the soft rock beats they were laying down. It seemed that most of the audience were familiar with their work, creating a carefree and buoyant atmosphere.
This vibe continued when half•alive made their way on stage and were greeted by rapturous applause from the eager crowd. The trio opened with a brief moment of silence, before breaking into ‘ok ok?’, a fantastic choice that fed off the slight sense of expectance that had built, and had everyone bopping along as they eased into their set. ‘RUNAWAY’, one of the most popular songs from the ‘Now, Not Yet’ album, followed and really set the venue alight with the increase in tempo from the previous song.
As half•alive only have 14 tracks, all 13 that were played were well received by the crowd, who were constantly enraptured by the group. Josh Taylor’s vocals were impeccable throughout, with the Californian showcasing his impressive vocal range and ability to engage with the crowd. The lead singer was in a jovial mood, and seemed genuinely delighted with the reception from the Birmingham audience. The group’s most popular track, ‘still feel’, came midway through the set and Taylor truly had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, getting them to sing the backing vocals in the early part of the song.
half•alive mainly played from their one album, occasionally dipping into their 2017 EP, ‘3’, with ‘The Fall’ and ‘Awake At Night’ making welcome appearances. They were often joined on stage by JA Collective, the artistic directors who feature prominently in the music videos for ‘still feel’ and ‘BREAKFAST’. Their choreography with Taylor fit perfectly with the energetic and eccentric nature of the set as a whole, combining perfectly with the lighting to wow the crowd without detracting from the music itself. JA Collective even taught the crowd a few simple moves to accompany ‘Rest’, adding to the intimacy of the gig and bridging the gap between those on stage and those off.
The set closed with ‘ice cold’ and ‘creature’, which would be perhaps my only criticism of an otherwise outstanding performance, as the gig would have benefited from finishing with one of their more well-known and high tempo numbers. They also didn’t leave themselves any room to come back for an encore when the crowd called for one, having played almost all of their tracks.
Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable gig and surely not the last time the emerging group will play in Birmingham. Next time, I expect to see half•alive playing at a bigger venue, such is the trajectory I think they are on.
By Luke Bosher