Pales Waves and Inheaven Bring the Vibes on a Tuesday
Pale Waves could easily be written off as the effect from a trickle down effect of The 1975 fandom. But on a Tuesday night in Columbus, Ohio they proved they can hold their own.
Skully’s Music Diner has become the primary spot in town to see bands that are little too big for the dive bars but not quite big enough for the major concert halls. Given the trajectory that Pale Waves has taken in the past year, I consider myself lucky to have caught them live in as intimate of an environment as I saw them in this evening. I actually turned to my concert buddy at the end of the night and, impressed with their performance, predicted they’d headline Express! Live within a year (a 2200 capacity indoor room, for the unfamiliar). That night they probably played in front of 450 folks.
Their set was the most familiar of the night to me. They bookended their set (just over 35 minutes in length) with fan favorites “Television Romance” and “There’s a Honey.” Sprinkling in a couple of new tunes from their upcoming LP, the band breezed through their six released songs like it was nothing. Frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie kept the stage banter to a minimum, letting her stage persona speak through the music. She remained relatively relaxed, moving about the stage with ease and occasionally getting into some playful yet deadpan dance moves. A highlight for me was when the band slowed things down with a sad, synth heavy song in which bassist Charlie Wood and guitarist Hugo Silvani took positions at the keys at either end of the stage. The audience was bathed by blue light and the deep tones of the song—and it was a powerful moment.
Inheaven served as a proper opener to Pale Waves after almost not making it. Their brand of shoegaze-tinged dreampop had the crowd basking in poignant melodies accentuated by walls of sound. James Taylor and Chloe Little, who happen to be cofounders of the project, served as characters that added a bit of whimsicality to the show—James, choosing to sing up into a mic purposefully too tall for him, and Chloe, donning a flowery outfit fitting of a hazy sounding band. Sometimes, I have trouble finding that middle ground between a being lost in the haze and a good hook—Inheaven has found this middle ground.
Local favorites The Candescents kicked off the night, a last minute to the show when it seemed like Inheaven might not make it to the evening. It came as no surprise to many—they served as Pale Waves’ direct support on their previous headlining run in the US. Their single, “Boyfriend,” proved to be a crowd favorite, and their guitarist did most of the talking—quipping at times how he was getting over a hangover but was glad to be playing the unexpected show that night. It was was my first proper Candescents show—they have a sound that is fitting for the indie scene Columbus seems to be great at nurturing, yet is accessible to the masses. Look for big things to come.