#48 Pale Waves, The Tuning Fork

14 July 2018 


I have to say I wasn't sure about tonight's choice of Pale Waves. I had heard a few tracks, thought they sounded poppy and fun, a bit like the Primitives. But after I'd bought the tickets I began to think maybe they were just Taylor Swift in emo.

The evening began well, tapas in the tiny Madriz bar on Fort Lane, then Kate suggested dessert at Milse in Britomart. By crikey, it didn't really matter what the show would be like after the rhubarb and pear concoctions we were served, they were a well spent night out on their own.

Arrived at the Tuning Fork to find a much younger crowd than usual here, and a need to wear an age verified wristband. That just means a younger crowd I told myself, don't judge. Think Sylvan Esso, younger crowd and freakin awesome show. And actually, I took my daughter to Taylor Swift five years earlier and still enjoyed the night. At least there are no onesies with this show.

Daffodils opened, clearly Cure inspired, but polished and energetic. We were grabbing a comfy chair at the back and the lead act came by to catch how the support act were going down. They should have been well pleased as the crowd were pumped and ready. Kate just about tripped up the drummer as she walked by our comfy spot, but she was very nice about it.

Lights go down and crowd starts chanting Pale Waves. It's got the expectancy of an Arena show bottled up in the Tuning Fork. I have to say I do enjoy these moments.

Opens with Television Romance, followed not long afterwards it's Obsession and Kiss. Shit, they're playing most of the songs I know and it's only the start of the show. No matter, it's still a fun night out.

It's a sound that does lean more towards its Manchester roots, especially live where the reverb is cranked up. Echoes of Swift in the perennial heartbreak, but that's the plot line of 70 percent of pop music.

My reservations are more in the predictability of every track, that follow a similar arc of straightforward on the beat rhythm and melody interspersed with a heartfelt bridge between the catchy bits. No denying the talent, but there's a missing layer. But I'm pretty sure that they'll still sell plenty of Spotify downloads and fill a larger venue on their return to Auckland, regardless of my yearning for a bit more.

And then it was over after less than an hour. Seriously, you've travelled to the other side of the planet and that's it?