Watch Out! Pale Waves’ Dream Pop Will Be Huge In 2018 REVIEW+PHOTOS: PALE WAVES @ THE MOROCCAN LOUNGE 12/2/17
Long Beach, CA- This past weekend, I had the great fortune of attending the sold out PALE WAVES concert, at L.A.’s new, “The Moroccan Lounge” in Downtown.
To say that I’ve been a longtime fan of Pale Waves is a bit of a stretch, because truth be told, they haven’t been around very long. The band began gaining some notoriety in their hometown of Manchester, UK around 2015. They only formed a year or so prior as freshers at University. The lead vocalist and guitarist, Heather Baron-Gracie met drummer, Ciara Doran buying Vodka, and the rest was herstory. A few years later, the band of four revamped their look, and signed to Dirty Hit Records, (the same as The 1975 band). PALE WAVES is a new indie-pop rock band, with two viral singles.
As always, I arrived over an hour early to the venue with the hope of getting as close as possible to the stage. But in all my concert-going experience, a lesson I have yet to learn is to never underestimate the power of the unwavering fandom of teenagers. To my disappointment, I pass a line wrapping around the block full of young girls and boys who have been sitting in fold out chairs with jumbo sized McDonald’s drinks presumably waiting all day to get in. It was as I was in line for a new Harry Potter book, or the latest iPhone.
I take my place in line amongst everyone wearing matching black, gothic clothing, and makeup in support of their new favorite band, and wait patiently for the doors to eventually open. The moment the line moves, I dash to the front as quickly as possible, but am immediately sardined three rows from the front and just off to the side with hardly any room for my camera. Again, the fandom remains strong in this intimately small venue, with an even smaller stage. Perhaps a true indication of the youthfulness of the crowd was revealed to me as I eavesdropped on a conversation between some girl about how their friend “shouldn’t text her bff to start some drama about this boy she likes because her bff and her crush were hanging out together without her ….blah blah blah.” Perhaps I’m too old for this, but I was there for the music and while PALE WAVES’ music attracts a younger audience, I enjoy their music as much as these teeny boppers.
As soon as Pale Waves took the stage, the crowd went full on nuts. Heather took the mic and on behalf of the band, expressed her gratitude in her soft, sweet, accented voice that very much reflected the “sad girl”, 80’s goth vibe I had alway envisioned. Heather and Ciara look like two characters straight out of a Tim Burton movie- it’s a look, and we all love it.
They jumped right into “Television Romance”, a song that went viral with over 2 million views on Youtube. A strong starter, everyone including myself knows the words, and instantly we are immersed in the show. They carry on with an older song, “The Tide”. Only their die-hard fans know this one, but the audience devours it all the same. Heather pauses, and notes that the next song is a new song, to which everyone instantly loses their minds.
— Emilie (@EMSVEN13) December 5, 2017
“This next song, is about being obsessed with a boy”, she declare and the band immediately began to play, “My Obsession”. It’s a slower, more melodic piece in contrast to their more typical poppier hits. “And this next one, is about someone hating you”, the band plays “You Don’t Love Us Anymore”. This is also a slower, more tender piece. But the vibe picks right back up again when they play “Heavenly”. Everyone’s cheering at every word, spoken and sung. We’re having the time of our lives, until Heather changes her guitar for one that fittingly looks fashioned into the shape of a small black coffin.
She warns us that the next song will be the last for the evening. Again, PALE WAVES haven’t been around very long, so they only have so many songs to play. As soon they start “There’s A Honey”, the room is instantly singing and shouting the lyrics. During the second chorus, the crowd could no longer contain itself and teens rushed the stage to join the band for the evening’s last hurrah.
It was such a spontaneous and welcomed surprise, even Heather breaks character and smiles wide at this gesture. With fans now singing and dancing on stage with their favorite band, hands pumping in the air, cameras are flashing, and phones everywhere Instagramming, and snapchatting every angle of this moment, I was in awe of this young “kids” moment because it was, without a doubt, FUCKING. AWESOME.
The song ends, and everyone on stage is hugging the band, while the other half still on the floor, head out for merchandise, or wait for the band to leave outside at the door for more hugs and photos. I do neither of these things, but instead head back to my car humming their last song, content that I was able to see PALE WAVES live before their inevitable, massive come-up.
PALE WAVES’ first single will drop on New Years, and their 4 track EP will shortly follow. However, heed my warning, and try to catch them on tour before you’re officially outnumbered by even more dedicated teen fans.
Emilie Svensson is an LA local who directs movies, and online video content. She attends concerts often and writes about them occasionally.