Circa Waves at Kentish Town Forum, London, gig review: New material has enough bite to keep the mosh pits going

Band look set to continue with their impressive trajectory thanks to one hell of a live show

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The Independent Culture

It’d be all too easy to make some half-hearted joke about “T-Shirt Weather” and the fact that it’s, well, a scorcher – on the day Circa Waves play at The Forum. So I won’t. 

There have been so many boring think pieces about how British rock music still hasn’t managed to have its “resurgence” – whatever that’s supposed to look like – and then you go to see a band like this perform to a sold-out crowd at one of London’s biggest music venues; with their never-ending mosh pits and ambulance workers on hand for when the heat becomes too much for one fan.

On new record Different Creatures the songs pack enough of a punch – live they’re something else altogether. Frontman Kieran Shudall told me last month that he hadn’t seen their audience react to anything like they did for this new material. Tonight he proves his point and then some.

He doesn’t leap around the stage as much as some of his contemporaries, instead showing a fierce concentration as he powers through the likes of “Fire That Burns”, constantly aware of his bandmates and each audience member.

Compared to the more polite, nervy indie Circa Waves put out on their debut; Different Creatures has more bite – the bolshy, Queens of the Stone Age-style intro on opener “Wake Up” inspires a ferocious kind of hero worship from fans in their teens as well as those in their 40s.

Album title track – the “Message In A Bottle”-esque “Different Creatures” – is one of the more subtle, but nonetheless effective, rock tracks released this year, it tackles the big themes of immigration and xenophobia as Joe Falconer plays out that heartbreaking guitar whine. And on closer “T-Shirt Weather” the room explodes with one last bout of energy; fans throw their arms around one another and jump so enthusiastically that you can feel the balconies shudder.

Circa Waves are already on an impressive trajectory that’s testament to their talent, promise, and Shudall’s unabashed ambition. More gigs like this and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.