Going Out with a Bang: Pale Waves Live at O2 Forum Kentish Town

Cementing their status in the pop-punk realm, Pale Waves end their UK tour on a soaring high at London’s Kentish Town Forum.

The Mancunion band have elevated their live craft like no other. If dated back to 2018 during the My Mind Makes Noises performances, you’d usually find vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie hidden amongst an abundance of smoke and illuminating lights. Today, and much like their current sound, the band bare all with only a mere black backdrop; it’s subtle, yet entirely deafening.

Set opener ‘Lies’ storms straight into their current era Unwanted, their over-the-top angsty attitude on full display. ‘You’re So Vain’ sees Baron-Gracie firmly (& quite literally) claim her spot in punk royalty, placing on her temples the tiara a fan had thrown on stage specifically for this gritty number.

‘Television Romance’ commences a string of classics for the evening with twirling synths gliding their way through the entire venue. Arguably the most anthemic number in their catalogue, the track has every right to command a dance floor the way it so effortlessly does.

Alongside Baron-Gracie lie bassist Charlie Wood, guitarist Hugo Silvani and drummer Ciara Doran, all dressed in jet-black attire to fully embrace the mundane vibe they share. ‘Noises’ has OG stans going absolutely feral as Wood and Silvani join in harmony for their pristine solo, whilst “Change” leads us down memory lane to remember their acclaimed sophomore, 2021’s Who Am I?.

Rather absurdly, at one point Baron-Gracie asks: “Did anyone drag their boyfriend here tonight?” to which a roar erupts from the crowd. She selects a respondent to have their moment on stage whilst the band cover Dove Cameron’sBoyfriend. This section of the show is just as wild as you’re picturing… We’re just rolling with it.

Resuming into the lustful ‘Red’, resentful ‘Alone’ and arguably the only track these ‘boyfriends’ knew this evening, ‘There’s a Honey’ swiftly followed suit. Tonight’s set is pacing itself as more of a greatest hits medley than anything else, projecting the band’s versatility over the last three records, most notably in ‘The Hard Way’; one of the few tender moments of the evening, though worth the wait for its euphoric finale.

For their encore appearance ‘She’s My Religion’ takes centre stage as the most pivotal number of the evening for all LGBTQIA+ members in attendance. Baron-Gracie belts through beaming technicolour to provide a safe space for those that truly need it, then proceeds to sing ‘Jealousy’, a perturbed ditty with a seething aftertaste.

With almost 2,500 in attendance, Pale Waves prove once again that dictating a live audience remains their strongest suit. An energy unmatched can be felt throughout the entire venue as the band put on an extravaganza of a performance, propelling each of them into a future of utter greatness.

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Words: Jordan White
Cover Photo: Pip
Live Show Photos: Kelsi Luck, courtesy of Pale Waves Instagram