Pale Waves, the Manchester-based indie pop-punk rockers, have confirmed their third album has been completed. Unwanted, the follow-up to last year’s Who Am I?, is set to be released on August 12th via Dirty Hit. Ahead of the release, the band have embarked on a run of U.S. tour dates opening for 5 Seconds of Summer. In addition to the opening slots, the band have also managed to squeeze in a few more intimate headlining shows along the way. We caught Pale Waves at one of their headlining appearances this past Saturday night at Motorco Music Hall in Durham NC.
Dedicated fans were lined up around the entrance to Motorco well before the doors opened, so by the time Pale Waves took the stage, the anticipation and excitement were at a fever pitch. The four-piece fronted by Heather Baron-Gracie, and featuring drummer Ciara Doran, guitarist Hugo Silvani, and bassist Charlie Wood didn’t waste any time cranking up the energy that was already buzzing around the room. They immediately launched into a spirited run through “Change,” the opening track from Who Am I?, followed by “Television Romance” from their debut album My Mind Makes Noises, teeing up a setlist that would see the band hopscotch back and forth between a mix of favorites both old and new… and even newer… as they worked in several songs from their soon to be released album, Unwanted.
With the low stage and lack of a barrier at Motorco, the line between band and audience was virtually and literally non-existent. The crowd was euphoric but remained respectful, allowing frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie to often lean over the front of the stage while singing, and into the embrace of the band’s ardent fans. Gracie was a charismatic and magnetic presence who tended to draw the attention but the rest of the band was every bit as important to the performance, providing the rollicking sonic backdrop that weaved together their established synth-rock sound with their more recent leaning into crunchier pop-punk.
The chemistry amongst the band members is undeniable, and the performance at Motorco was a testament to the continuing growth and maturity of Pale Waves. They are a band that seems to thrive in the live setting, sounding bigger and more impactful from the stage. You could feel the confidence and energy building with each new song, culminating late in the set as they romped through the anthemic new song “Jealousy,” which provided a bit of guitar-driven grit that really resonated with the audience. The set ended on a high with “There’s A Honey,” and without the need to indulge in the whole leave and return encore shenanigans.
Pale Waves are a relatively young band who are continuing to evolve and it feels like they are starting to find their groove. If the audience at Motorco was any indication, they are on the right track.
Opening the show at Motorco was Gatlin, the stage name of Nashville-based singer/songwriter Gatlin Thornton. Gatlin played a concise set of stylish indie folk-pop that was well received by the attentive audience.