Every now and then a show comes through town that seems to draw in the entire city to one place, and Alvvays at The Ready Room this last Friday was exactly that. The sold out show not only featured the recently popular headliner, but gave a full circle view of the genre by including Shoegaze legend Frankie Rose as the opener. The very intimate set was made even more intimate by Alvvays requesting limited photography, as well as removing the barricade from in front of the stage. Despite the venue being packed wall to wall, there was still a strong feeling that they respected the experiences of their fans.
If you’re not familiar with Frankie Rose and her four albums, you may be familiar with her as a member of early 2000s sensation The Dum Dum Girls. Since performing as their drummer, she has gone out on her own and taken on the role as front woman. Her recent album Cage Tropical was an extreme make it or break it point for Frankie. At the start of it’s conception she had gone from full time touring artist to living back at home in LA as a catering truck employee. She battled over her personality identity as an artist and frankly struggled to create again. But it is clear that through her frustrations, she struck gold. Cage Tropical was praised by Pitchfork claiming it had taken her essence as a musician and given it a whole new energy while still staying true to her roots.
Luckily for the early birds who beat the headliner rush, Frankie Rose was extremely on point in her performance. On stage with Frankie was a rather energetic synth player as well as the moodiest bassist you will ever witness. Together they created a wonderfully pleasurable Lo-Fi experience complete with aesthetically fit projections displayed behind the band. Frankie Rose as a performer is mystical and completely personable, lacking the usual ego and circumstance that comes along with artists in the genre. While Frankie Rose stays loyally true to her genre, she still manages to pull of a sound that is uniquely hers. At thirty minutes, Frankie’s set was short and sweet leaving the audience ready for more.
As Frankie’s set came to a close the venue slowly began to fill in, with many people arriving as the headliner played their third song in true St. Louis fashion. The more intimate indie vibe of the opener transitioned into a much more physical form of intimacy – personal space. Alvvays drew such a large crowd due to the wild success of their 2017 release: Antisocialites. The album has been praised by outlets such as The Guardian and StereoGum, but also topped out on the Billboard 200 with the 82nd spot. For a band that has only been touring since 2011 with 2 albums under their belt, they have surprisingly worked their way into being a household name.
The dreamy yet approachable sound of Alvvays music brings out a variety of music lovers, from the shoegaze obsessed to the casual listener. Locals who find themselves listening to bands like Bruiser Queen and Middle Class Fashion are the perfect audience for the Toronto band’s laid back sound. The core band is made up of Keri MacLellan (Farfisa/Vocals), Brian Murphy (Bass/Guitar), Alec O’Hanley (Guitars/Bass/Production), Molly Rankin (Vocals/Guitar/Fiddle), and Chris Dadge (Drums/Percussion). In true gentlemanly fashion the boys in the group set up the stage, leaving a very dramatic entrance when you first see Kerri waltz on stage with her cooler than cool signature shoulder length bob.
One thing that is clear about Alvvays is they don’t mind giving off an air of intimidating coolness, but their relaxed sound gives them a sense of balance. Perhaps it is this inherent star power of the members that has helped propel them to the top. One song that captures their energy well of the new album is Lollipop, bright and poppy with an untouchable sense of cool.
One thing is clear, if Alvvays ever wants to come back through town… they have a solid fan base here in town.
Stream their latest album Antisocialites on spotify below:
Check out the official photo gallery from the show: