Photography by Emma Kunz
By Ash Jones, Staff Writer
When: Friday, November 18, 2022
Swaying in the crowd, listening to Alvvays permeate Roadrunner’s stage with face-melting music, was a last minute decision that should’ve been on my radar ages ago. Molly Rankin, Kerri MacLellan, Alec O’Hanley, Abbey Blackwell, and Sheridan Riley were elusive vessels of dream-pop horsepower. They gifted the audience with a warm, enchanting soundscape on a freezing night in Boston.
Alvvays has long resided in my “recommended artists” page on Spotify since I was an angsty tween who blasted My Bloody Valentine into my poor, poor eardrums. Their hazy music tore into my heart, while also weaving it back together through soothing, lucid noise. From that point on, I’ve always been a drooling fiend looking for my next whiff.
My first big girl dosage of Alvvays riddled my body on November 18th. The memories of this magical performance continue to intoxicate my bloodstream, making me wish I could hear live versions of Blue Rev for the first time again.
ALVVAY’S LATEST RELEASE IS AN OASIS
Alvvays released their fresh comeback album, Blue Rev, in October. It dabbles in genre hopping, ceasing to uphold rules of any specific music category.
After their 2017 album Antisociliates, Alvvays matured their sound and came close to solidifying their distinct musical language. Given that Blue Rev marks only their third album, there’s more thirst to be had with this Canadian band.
Between Rankin’s commanding voice and the searing instrumentation to accompany the sentimental lyricism, Blue Rev is an oasis of tracks; action-packed, yet serene at its pulsating core.
PREPARING FOR LIFTOFF
Slow Pulp, a Wisconsin-based band, first emerged from dim, fuschia lighting that illuminated the stage. The entrance befit the nature of their performance— mystifying and bound to lull you into a dreamlike trance.
They kicked off the evening with songs such as “Idaho” and “High,” which sent a thick and echoing buzz to the audience. Their set was explosive, yet dripped sweet with gentle guitar strums.
Mirroring the signature mellow psychedelia of Alvvays, Slow Pulp introduced me to a night that felt spell-casted and sprinkled with musical bliss.
ALVVAYS MAKING WAVES
I stood on the floor like a statue, trying to avoid Doc Martens swerving into my ankles as the tracks of Blue Rev transcended the audience into a masquerade of uncoordinated, yet carless shoulder bumping tangos.
The band opened with “Pharmacist,” a heartthrob piece that stood out on the new record. The two-minute runtime of this opening track forces you to beg for more. It resembles the classics of Antisocilaites, while also breaking free from the past and inviting new sounds into center stage.
There was a pleasant balance between colossal waves of energy and melancholic salvation. Alvvays consistently put a dynamic spin on the slow-burning dream pop genre.
In “Fourth Figure,” Molly Rankin halted the momentum of the fast-paced night. She bellowed gracefully as Kerri MacLellan went heavy on the distorted synth with her vintage keyboard. Following this soul-churning song, the college radio classic “Archie, Marry Me” riled up the audience, right after they’d finished wiping tears from their cheeks.
LEAVING THE DIMENSION
Alvvays meticulously curated their own universe during their fall tour. They have lured all walks of life into their foggy, whimsical environment, stamping an impression that will cease to whittle away from the music world.
Leaving Roadrunner at the end of the set felt like returning to Earth after partying with turtleneck-wearing martians. Alvvays enraptured me at Friday’s show, and I’m still clinging onto their array of songs that bent gravity.
The Canadian band’s homecoming dates will proceed this winter in Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa. Given the success of the Blue Rev Tour, I hope to see them riding a streak of transcendent music-making this decade.