Pale Waves at Sonia

By Amelia Hern

Pale Waves filled The Sonia with energy in their last show of their US tour on Sunday night, April 15th. Originally from Manchester, England, Pale Waves is an alternative indie-pop band made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Heather Baron-Gracie, drummer Ciara Doran, guitarist Hugo Silvani, and bassist Charlie Wood. The band’s following expanded greatly after touring with The 1975 in 2017 as the opening act. I first heard them at The 1975’s show at Madison Square Garden in June, and I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to see what they could do in a more intimate venue.

A sustained electronic hum sounded through the speakers as the band took the stage. The lights came up, and the crowd was immediately ignited at the first few notes of the guitar riff as they kicked off the night with their hit “Television Romance.” Lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie strutted onstage decked out in patent leather clothing from head to toe, platform shoes, and her signature makeup look consisting of smoky dramatic eyeshadow and black lipstick.

Somewhat countering their goth appearance, Pale Waves’ sound consists of fun 80’s synth-pop vibes with hints of inspiration from bands like The Cure and The 1975. Their songs have melancholy lyrics that portray themes of heartbreak and uncertainty, but at the same time they make you want to get up and dance to their funky basslines and catchy guitar riffs.

Baron-Gracie’s robot-esque quirky movements at the mic are surprisingly endearing and really work with her aesthetic. She commands the crowd with her presence and has fun with her bandmates on stage. There is an obvious synergy among the members. At one point, Baron-Gracie sat down on the edge of the stage and sang an emotional rendition of an unreleased song called “She,” filling the room with her raw vocals. The audience sang their hearts out to every word of each song, and the performers fed off of their energy. It was a wonderful experience to be a part of.

After playing the extent of their limited discography, Pale Waves ended the night with “There’s a Honey,” another fan favorite. They left us wanting more, as their set was only about 40 minutes long, but having only released one 4-song EP and a handful of singles, this band has done very well. I am patiently awaiting the release of more music, and hopefully more tours to come along with it.

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