Monday, June 19, 2023

Live Review: Circa Waves Give Another Knockout Performance At Newcastle’s NX On Rescheduled Never Going Under UK Tour

Indie powerhouse Circa Waves took on the Toon for the sixth night of their 2023 album ‘Never Going Under’ tour, and it was a night sure to be remembered.

Following the announcement back in January that the UK leg of the tour would be postponed on doctor’s orders, as a result of frontman Kieran Shuddall’s health worries, the band showed no signs of being out of practice as they gave fans an incredible performance that celebrated their newest album, plus plenty of their older tracks, on Thursday night at Newcastle’s NX (formerly the O2 Academy).

The gig opened with performances from up-and-coming bands Courting and Cassia, who both succeeded in warming up the crowd and preparing us for a night of music and memories. Keeping it close to home, with alt/indie band Cassia from Macclesfield and rock band Courting from Liverpool, both artists promoted the talent of this country, and served as perfect precursors to the Liverpool-born headliners.

Kicking off the night, Courting, who formed in 2018, opened the show with a number of performances of songs from their experimental debut album, ‘Guitar Music’. With songs that use mundane, everyday topics or ideas as inspiration, such as in ‘Jumper’, the band interacted well with the crowd and did a great job of warming up the audience with a few sing-along opportunities, a difficult task for any opening act.

Next up was Cassia, an indie trio whose music combines typical indie pop sounds with hints of afrobeat and calypso, among others. Bringing a sense of newness and progressiveness to the stage in the form of tracks such as ‘100 Times Over’ and ‘High Tones’, the band demonstrated their talent and likeability as they captured the attention of the crowd, with a group of fans even begging drummer Jacob Leff to throw his drumsticks into the crowd at the end of their set (which he did)!

Circa Waves then began their set full of high energy with the eponymous ‘Never Going Under’. Playing off the audience’s excitement and anticipation at seeing the band finally back on the road again after their last headline tour back in 2020, frontman Kieran Shuddall, alongside guitarists Joe Falconer and Sam Rourke and drummer Colin Jones, sang the lyrics “This room was made for me and you”, an apt opening to a night which the band have described as being all about connection and unity.

Also from recent album ‘Never Going Under’ were performances of ‘Your Ghost’, ‘Do You Wanna Talk?’, Hell On Earth’ and ‘Carry You Home’, which, accompanied by impressive lighting and chest-vibrating bass drums, made for the electricity in the room to increase as fans all jumped and danced with the upbeat tunes.

A clear standout, though, has to be ‘Living In The Grey’, a powerfully impactful song about mental health, particularly that of men, and the pressure to “be happy” in the face of “darkness”. Slowing the tempo down for this performance, the room came alive as fans and band alike shouted the lyrics to one another, with the boys looking a little emotional as they focused on the meaning behind their words.

The band also played a number of fan favourites, such as ‘Movies’‘Fossils’, and, of course, closed with a rendition of the much-loved summer anthem ‘T-Shirt Weather’ (fitting, as Newcastle had seen a welcome 22 degrees earlier that day). Uniting fans young and old by interweaving Circa Waves classics as well as their new material, the night served as one big celebration of the ten years the band have spent together so far, and a nod towards what is to come for the four-piece in the future.

Now, Circa Waves continue on with their UK tour with shows in Sheffield, Manchester, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, before hitting up festival season with appearances at Sheffield’s Tramlines and Derbyshire’s Y Not Festival, among many others. For more information on Circa Waves’ upcoming performances and music, visit their Official Website and Instagram.

Isobel Reeves


Image: Circa Waves’ Official UK Tour Poster


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