Alvvays at Commodore Ballroom

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The stage lit up green and blue like the beginning of a sci-fi drama. The squeals of instruments pumped energy into the people standing, sitting, crowding in corners, and leaning on staircases. The place was packed. 

“I know you’re back, I saw your sister at the pharmacy, picking up. Said you had that new love glow.”

Pharmacist, off their most recent album, “Blue Rev”, rang out from the speakers as lead singer Molly Rankin and her band jumped head first into the show. Beneath the ceilings of Vancouver’s commodore, Alvvays made their way into the hearts of Vancouver for the last night of their tour.  

The fight between vocals and guitars was immediate and electric, bringing out a punk-goes-pop energy amidst the crowd. I had (guiltily) done a little recon on their show prior which set me up to notice just how vibrant a position the guitar took in the set. It seemed to roll over us like a tidal wave, pulling us into their music in a way that you just can’t get listening to it recorded.

The sound itself was on display but without ever disregarding the magic of Alvvay’s lyrics that are often praised. Over the night, they weaved between albums, playing crowd favourites early on and often—generous and confident, like a perfect date on a Friday night. There was no holding out and the crowd felt it. 

It was an 80s music video kind of night. Loud, with a little glow that didn’t give me an escape but it coloured the walls with something magical. Which is something that only they hold. It’s dream-like and real-life. It’s the kind of art that makes anything and everything feel slightly closer to finding its silver-lining. And it’s this subtlety and genius that made me unsurprised to see every kind of Vancouverite represented in that room.

Between hits like Dreams Tonite, Easy on Your Own?, Belinda Says, and of course, Marry Me, Archie, lead vocalist, Molly Rankin casually and infrequently checked in with the crowd with the causal, best friend demeanour you can only dream for when you experience Rankin’s voice. Her blend of cool (think Pheobe Bridgers meets Michelle Wiliams) comes with a humble, new-day-pop, musical-genius feeling that is so effortless, you constantly want more. 

In their recent third album, they bring what feels like a tighter and tighter version of themselves. Almost like they wrote a trilogy all at once. Of course, there is no doubt that this collection of records holds all the genius of Alvvays. Standing beneath the waves of their music gave me no doubts, there was more to come. 

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