Pale Waves w/ Hot Milk– Live @ Roundhouse, London, February 28th 2022

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Jemma Dodd

Their support slot with Halsey back in early 2020 was the last many experienced before the music industry went into a long, unwanted hibernation. Now, almost exactly two years later, Pale Waves have awoken, returning with their very own headline tour and we couldn’t be more thrilled to dive headfirst into their indie-pop world.

Tonight is an unapologetic celebration of women, with support from Bitters and Hot Milk, and the pre-show playlist proudly blaring the likes of King Princess and Avril Lavigne, ensuring the singalongs simply never stop.

Hot Milk have already made a name for themselves, as is clear tonight, their many 2021 festival slots paying off in a big way. The band’s pop-rock sound is wildly accessible and hugely fun, making them the perfect main support for a band as energetic as Pale Waves. A band that offsets the doom and gloom our world seems to be perpetually shrouded in, Hot Milk are here to help us forget the many woes that live outside of these walls and are entirely successful in their efforts. Tonight we’re ready to let go and with one final nudge from the band’s front woman, Hannah Mee, this packed Roundhouse crowd do exactly that.

Energy now running high, the time before Pale Waves take to the stage seem to pass painfully slowly, but it’s well worth the wait as the house finally lights dim, a cue for the stage to momentarily play host to and epic light show and for Heather Baron-Gracie and co. to appear in front of us.

Kicking things off with the band’s lead single, Change, from their latest album, Who Am I?, the crowd instantly immerse themselves in the experience, screaming along to every word as though their lives beyond this moment depend on it. It’s just the first of many indications that Pale Waves mean more than just the music to those in attendance this evening; there’s a connection that’s difficult to articulate but one that’s made clear through acts such as Baron-Gracie’s distribution of flowers during Wish You Were Here, her personable acknowledgement of happy couples in the front few rows before Odd Ones Out, and the way she drapes a fan-presented lesbian flag around her shoulders during She’s My Religion.

The gratitude that Pale Waves feel for their fans is tangible, manifesting itself in what feels like a friendship – while the stage and barrier may physically separate us tonight, there’s no emotional partition to be found, only humility and acceptance. The overall atmosphere is entirely welcoming and this only further adds to the faultless delivery of the music we’ve all fallen in love with over the years. Baron-Gracie’s vocals are stronger than ever and drummer Ciára Duran is given their moment to shine during old favourite The Tide. Where some bands may struggle in a live environment, it does nothing but elevate Pale Waves’ sound, seeing them shine even brighter, coming across heavier than they do on record and truly showcasing the individual talents that make up the band. The Roundhouse has become an iconic venue, only ever home to the most iconic bands and Pale Waves have easily proven that tonight is no exception to that unspoken rule.

The only possible complaint is the length of the set – with two full albums under their belt, Pale Waves have enough material to easily play for 90 minutes but this evening clocks in at just an hour after an encore of She’s My Religion and the forever favourite, There’s a Honey, leaving us longing for more.

The good news is that having only formed in 2014, there’s still so much more to come from this incredible band and whatever comes next is sure to only make us fall more deeply in love.

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