Live Review: Circa Waves // Oxford O2 Academy – 25/03/2017


From the crowd reaction to both support bands INHEAVEN and The Magic Gang, which is thunderous from the already packed out venue, it’s immediately obvious how well headline act Circa Waves are going to go down tonight.

Already six dates into the tour, they’re on ruthless live form and leave no time for the fans to ease in, opening with the menacing ‘Wake Up’, the first single from their still fresh second album Different Creatures. It’s a jarringly different and more grown up sounding song with more savage intensity and muscle than anything they’d released previously, paving the way for the rest of album no.2 which marks a sudden departure from their carefree youthful indie anthems upon which their debut focused.

Songs like ‘Out On My Own’ and ‘Stuck’ are greeted like old fan favourites. After touring debut album, Young Chasers relentlessly, their new heavier sound has also given old singles ‘Get Away’ and ‘Stuck In My Teeth’ a meatier more frantic live incarnation, therefore keeping the entire set fresh sounding. It’s riffs galore tonight but still combined with their irresistibly trademark pop hooks.

Stage chat is kept to a minimum throughout a rapidly paced first half of the set. The frenzied crowd greet each opening beat in spectacular fashion, and the sold-out venue bouncing to every word from front-man Kieran Shudall’s mouth.

The incendiary ‘Fire that Burns’ was clearly custom designed for slaying festival stages all summer and it goes down a treat here tonight too, sandwiched in between deeper cuts from their back catalogue. It’s not only the heavier guitar tone that sounds more grown up too, their lyrics have also developed onto more meaningful topics.

There is a delicately intimate start to the encore with a purely acoustic stripped down version of new song ‘Love’s Run Out’ which is met with arms aloft before the final mayhem of the night begins. With the crowd drenched in sweat and begging for more, the set then finishes in appropriately biblical fashion with what is still their biggest song to date ‘T-Shirt Weather’, and the academy erupts into 3 and a half minutes of pure euphoria. A perfect mix of old and new across the night, they have very much returned as Different, yet still familiar Creatures.

Words by Ed Budds


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