A year on from playing the Temple, Circa Waves returned to Birmingham to tackle the big room at the Institute. The night ended up being filled with blood, sweat and tears of joy, from the first song to the last.
The first band on, The Academic, definitely tried their hardest to put on a good show, and their songs were catchy enough, but look unlikely to thrive in a scene so crowded at the moment. With tunes which cut a perfect line between Circa Waves and Catfish and The Bottlemen, they’re not exactly original, but a good warm-up act.
Sundara Karma have the potential to go on to much bigger things. Their songs have a certain stadium quality about them which transfers well to the big stage. This support slot with the popular Circa Waves should do them no harm and it won’t be long till they are headlining their own big tours. However, some of the songs threatened to become too similar, and we must hope they don’t lose the edge they have in order to claim fame.
Judging by the crowd and the atmosphere at this gig, Circa Waves have exploded. After a well-received debut album and two massively successful festival seasons, the band earned themselves adoring fans who know the words to every song and aren’t afraid to show you. The catchiness of the band’s songs is stood testament by the fact that even early B-side ‘100 Strangers’ sounds like a famous single and is loved by those in attendance. Every track seemed to have been beefed up another level for this performance, with deeper cuts like ‘Lost It’ and ‘The Luck Has Gone’ sounding massive in this venue, egged on by the energy of the crowd.
The theme of the night was definitely fun. You might not think Circa Waves write the most complex songs, or the cleverest lyrics, but it is hard to deny that when played in a live context, all of their songs are hugely enjoyable and listening to them is the perfect form of escapism. Who cares that the tracks don’t teach you about social issues, when they let you pogo away and forget about the worries of your life. It’s not quite a ‘leave your brain at the door’ event, even though some fans seemed to think it was, but a Circa Waves gig is one where there is no shame in going mad for every song and having the time of your life just because you want to. After all, that is exactly what the band seem to do every single night.
The night was filled with singles galore, from ‘Fossils’ to ‘Get Away’ to the anthem of ‘Stuck in My Teeth’. Just when you think the band have nothing left to offer, they pull out their biggest tune in the form of the summer smash ‘T Shirt Weather’. The crowd, dripping in sweat and memories, bleed dry the last ounces of their energy and give all to this remarkable swansong. Who cares if you just got accidentally elbowed in the face by a 16-year old when you’re in such a euphoric mood. Whether or not you like the band on record, Circa Waves are a must-see act live.