Alvvays

I haven’t updated this blog for a while but it’s the right time to celebrate its 8th year running with some new photos.

Alvvays have been on my radar for few months, missed them at a London festival, went to catch them close to home
I have a soft spot for indiepop. It is not my genre but it works pretty well when neither Michael Gira nor PJ Harvey do.

Summer nights, refreshing evening to cheer you up with a drink. Contemporary vintage. Nostalgia of old music without wanting to listen to the Beach Boys.
That is where Indiepop enters my life.

OK, Let’s spend a couple of lines on the name. I know, It’s internet. To be or not to be that is the question. Easy is the answer. Depends if the search engine finds us or not.
To get up there in the first half page of google isn’t easy, you know everytime you do a search of site without typing your name.
Name. One and foremost, a unique name helps a lot. A word that doesn’t exist. But still recalls another that does exist. Genius.
Alvvays replaced the W with 2 Vs. Looks wrong (to me) but works great. Google it and see. Than try to Google, for example, Perfect Pussy and see if you get anything about a punk band (DO NOT do this at work).

Unique name. It’s not just that, sure. Being the only Valerio Berdini in the world it would have made me a millionaire.
You need to be good (*reminder to self*), constant, professional and catchy. I’ll get to that later.

Chvrches did it first (or was it Mvscles?). Whatever, V in the place of U looks cooler than VV in the place of W.
Few years back someone pioneered the idea using caps lock (that google ignores) and removed vowels. Band as SBTRKT appeared but, let’s be honest, it didn’t work because it is impossibile to remember the sequence of consonants when you don’t have the whole name. And it’s unpronounceable which doesn’t help words of mouth.
I always get LND or LDN wrong for All London airports international code, for example. (Don’t think you care)

Right I finish this. I needed to squeeze a couple of pretty pics of Molly, rather, pretty Molly pics and need some words between them.

Molly Rankin is Alvvays’ magnet and a magnetic front-girl. She sings, plays guitar and capture audience attention.
Wikipedia tells me she is a member of the Rankin family, a musical institution in Canada that I never heard of until I got to Wiki to check. (Call me ignorant but I am honest)

This to say Alvvays are from Canada. Nova Scotia…. (google/maps/Nova Scotia) … oh yes, it is that protuberance in the east of the country just north of the US. Must be beautiful there.

Alvvays album was out earlier this year and welcomed enthusiastically in UK. They saturated my twitter liveon35mm feed for a week (it’s linked cause I’m close to 1000 for too long go follow me break the barrier), that’s how I was caught by the name, first, intriguing articles, second. I couldn’t avoid them.

Spotify now has their selftitled album on stream so I am listening to it right now.

9 fresh songs. They open with a nice jingle, not a proper riff, more the sort of things Robert Smith of the Cure used in songs, all with the right vibe from start to end.
Jangling guitars and Molly’s voice embodying that happiness of being young and doing what she loves most.

I wanted to buy the album and get it signed after their set at the Cambridge Junction. They came to open for Real Estate, I took these photographs there.
Unfortunately I forgot my wallet at home, so I couldn’t buy neither the album nor the glass of white wine belonging to a lady that I spilled from a table. #FeelingGuilty

Alvvays are a 5 members band. If Molly is the band’s (sweet)heart, the other 4 are the band’s mind.
Down to earth, they have the quintessential indie attitude playing quintessential independent music, dressed in quintessential indie fashion including indie accessories, spectacles, converse, t-shirt, skinny jeans kind of stuff.

So, they do what it says in the tin. And they do it well.

Signed to Polyvinyl (which I hope one day will bring to us another Japandroids album) is a warranty of sincerity.
They will play the album almost in full tonight in a 30 minutes slot. It sounds crisp and shiny (and better than Real Estate but don’t tell them).

Alec O’Hanley on lead guitar has the melodic touch, Kerri MacLellan on keys adds the pillars of the songs, with simple harmonies.
Let’s make it clear, it’s not rocket science, it’s not Thelonious Monk quartet and not even the Cure. But it’s pleasing.

If you want a comparison, you better look at Camera Obscura or the Pains of Being Pure at Heart.
This is on offer and better you take it now.

The most complicate career you can choose, as a professional band in 2014, is this sort of delicate, not showing-off, jangly pop.
It’s difficult to write songs that stand out from the huge bunch they’re with.
It’s difficult to impress your audience when you walk on stage the same way you dress to go to the cornershop to buy milk.

Alvvays managed to fill a whole album with 9 indie-pop pearls and it will be nice to see these guys growing and pointing at bigger stages.
To support Real Estate was good but wasn’t doing justice to their potential.

Listen to them, tell your friends, bring them back to UK.
You now know how easy is to find Alvvays online, but if you’re super lazy, I’m here to help with few links [website][facebook][twitter][Spotify]


Photo tip

Junction2 is a tiny posh venue, as posh as the city of Cambridge.
When is seated there’s no pit, actually the seats are in a pit.
When it’s standing most of times there is no pit.

Rarely as tonight, they put a pit. It was so tiny that the girl passing the photopass tells me she doubt I can squeeze in. I know I will.
Every small pit is better than no pit.
Why?

General opinion among music fans and venue securities is that music photographers want a pit so they do not have to arrive too early and still have a privileged spot in front of long time waiting first row fans. It’s true. We love our job, still is a job. When you are doing a job to be in the ideal conditions to work helps.

I have covered so many gigs without pit, I mean wild shows, shows with violent moshpits, deafening concerts that I am experienced enough to tell that the problem is not music photographers being picky.

The main reason we want a pit is because it helps shooting better photos.
Why? Yes, because we are close but mainly because we can move.

A concert is not static, and even with the static artists different angles help to find the right photo.
To move along the stage in a soldout theatre with people standing it is not a option when there is not a pit.

It is already tough to get to the front but we must. Second row is a no option. We need to be in front of anyone else.
Fans are right to complain. First row should be for them than to these big lenses taking photo.

Music venues, please, do all you can to put press pits at gig if the band allows photographers.

If you want that we do our best job we give us the condition to work.
If there is no chance we are going to have a pit, please tell us in advance.
We’ll live at home the 70-200mm and probably the second body attached to it. We’ll be lighter, we will be less of a hassle.

~ by Valerio on October 23, 2014.

2 Responses to “Alvvays”

  1. Some of the very best photos of this band, and the commentary is spot on. Thanks.

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