By Max Szentveri
April 4, 2018
VANCOUVER – Since their stellar self-titled debut dropped in 2014, Alvvays have catapulted to ubiquitous indie stardom and toured relentlessly. The band took the stage at the Commodore Ballroom as part of a west coast swing on their international tour supporting their September release, “Antisocialites”
Playing an equal blend of fresh material from the new record as well as classics from their first album, the group performed their signature brand of rollicking, dreamy guitar pop subtly infused with distinctive Acadian undertones. Buoyed atop the propulsive rhythms of Sheridan Riley’s drumming, frontwoman Molly Rankin’s voice flutters between plaintive crooning, powerful belting, and an airy porcelain falsetto.
The group’s performance was tight, and punctuated with intercalary moments of levity. At one point, Rankin asked how the short people in the crowd were doing, and entreated the taller audience members to make sure they didn’t obstruct the views of the vertically challenged. “Those are my folk, you know?” chuckled the diminutive frontwoman.
Falling smack dab in the middle of a grueling three-and-a-half-month, 51-date tour across Europe and North America, and the fatigue seemed to show a little. The band bobbed and swayed on stage, but for the most part, their stage presence was fairly sedate, and the audience’s involvement was at times similarly tepid. Furthermore, Rankin’s wryly humorous lyrics and Alec O’Hanley’s silvery guitar riffs–arguably the group’s strongest assets–were often hard to make out, overpowered by the drums, which were too loud in the mix.
However, the band still managed to get the crowd into it eventually–the audience sang along to new song “Not My Baby,” and by the time Rankin performed the group’s breakthrough hit “Archie, Marry Me,” she was emphatically joined by everyone in the room. Her exceptional gift for melody, coupled with the group’s ever-forward rhythmic stomp make for catchy, toe-tapping tunes that stay in your head long after you’ve left the show.Alvvays, Commodore Ballroom