by Linda Pecaj
8pm at the Magic Stick
Enthusiastic and loyal fans have formed a blockade for front row, allowing nothing to obstruct their view or their chances of acknowledgment from the performers this evening. Any eye contact will satisfy them for years to come and that’s why two hours of waiting doesn’t compare to the years of happiness front row spots provide. To my left are stairs leading up to a platform equipped with couches for pictures and relaxation before the thrill of loud music hits. Behind me is the bar, where men and women were busy buying drinks, as well as sharing laughs and a few flirtatious smiles. Good vibes and happy people at every angle.
The laughs grow louder, the smiles bigger and the crowd is multiplying. Before it swallows me whole, I reach for my gin and tonic (extra lime of course) and head back to my place, dodging every body in my way like Golden Tate running for a game winning touchdown. I made it to the second row, without a drop of gin wasted.
I have my friend on my left and my new soon to be friend on my right. We have ten minutes until show time, so naturally, we engage in some small talk. Come to find out the couple next to me drove three hours from Canada to support their favorite band, the one and only Alvvays, the reason everyone in this place is lit up with laugher and good vibes. But, before Alvvays takes the stage and steals our soul, Jay Som plans to get us warmed up a bit first.
Jay Som hits the stage, a 22-year old with an angelic voice accompanied by some powerful and relatable lyrics. She opens the show with “Everybody Works”. Her voice so sweet and melodies so raw, you’d never believe she created her album in just three weeks. The crowd is responsive, and so is Jay Som, replying to the screams of compliments. She ends her performance with “Baybee,” the crowd following along to a catchy baseline and some soft, sweet lyrics. Bravo Jay Som, a woman on a mission with her carefully crafted sounds.
Time seems to have stopped and the crew seems to be working in slow motion. This is the waiting game. We don’t know what time they’ll hit the stage but the crowd is whispering and ready for Alvvays! We’re ready for Molly, Alec, Brian, Kerri and Sheridan take the stage. The crew exits and now our anticipation is at 100. A loud, high-pitched scream comes from the back of the room, “We want Alvvays!”. There’s house music playing the background, as we not so patiently wait. Finally, the lights dim, laughs and other sounds of delight echo throughout the room. The name ‘Alvvays’ lights up on the wall behind the drums and everyone fumbles to snap a quick picture with their phones.
The soft music gets louder as the band steps out to their spots on stage. Now, the crowd is cheering and Molly greets everyone with a vibrant smile, as Sheridan bangs her drums, signaling the rest of the band to join in starting off the night with “Hey,” from their new album Antisocialites. They continued to play into the crowd’s adrenaline with “Adult Diversion” and “In Undertow”. Smash hits that everyone knows and sings along with. I can only imagine how much of a treat it is for the band to have the everyone singing along and adoring their presence.
Between songs Molly wasn’t shy, she addresses the crowd several times throughout the night. One fan expressed her love for the lead singer, and Molly assured her the feeling was mutual.
Alvvays calm things down during the song “Forget About Life.” At the beginning of it, all you could hear was the soft tone of Molly’s voice sending us deep into our souls trying to look for someone we love, hoping to forget about life. The song later picks up and everyone’s eyes open up, as their hands shoot up to the ceiling in unison, freeing the energy we were storing deep inside ourselves.
Alvvays continues to rock the night away singing “Archie, Marry Me” followed by “Dreams Tonite”. They decided to end their performance with “Party Police,” and what a great decision it was.
Now I understand why the trip from Canada was worth it for my friend, and all the sold-out shows. Now I understand the love of their fans and the power of their music. Alvvays is pronounced ‘always,’ and along with the rest of the crowd at the Magic Stick tonight, I hope they alvvays stick around.