The excitement amongst the capacity Riverside crowd was paramount tonight with this, the first Newcastle headline show for Massachusetts alt-rock quartet PVRIS since supporting Lower Than Atlantis in the same venue only a year prior.
Kudos to PVRIS for choosing to tour with two great eclectic bands also; Alvarez Kings (UK) and K.Flay (US), with all three billed acts in their own right on the cusp of greatness through sheer hard work, touring and the ability to grasp and grow from the excitement of crowds much like tonights.
South Yorkshires Alvarez Kings were the first band to open the show. Described as progressive indie pop, the quartet recently signed a major deal with Warner Bros having built a strong fan base through touring the UK, EU and US. Tonight their feel good songs were an instant hit with the crowd. Frontman Simon serenaded a strong vocal with the band complimenting the air of commercial professionalism with atmospheric verses and anthemic choruses. The confidence in performance and onstage suave soon had the crowd waving mobile phone lights in sync with the music. A relatively new band; Alvarez Kings charm, charisma and strong presence will soon garner the success and easily attract the attention of Coasts / One Republic / Script fans.
The next act was an artist which instantly grabbed everyones attention and personally blew me away with a total unexpected assault to the senses. K.Flay is a rapper originating from San Francisco, whom took to the Riversides stage with a 2-piece live drum and guitar band which impacted immediately. Her Drummer, Nicholas Suhr absolutely disintegrated the drum kit with sheer brutal force and yet effortless expression. Guitarist Josh, equally as cool, rocked some simple phat and tasty riffage which was all K.Flay needed to unleash her verbal assault. Dressed all in black, the tshirt and ripped jeans appeal fused her indie-grunge image with hip hop vibes seamlessyly. Pangs of husky, soulful and melodic Winehouse-esq phrases occurred sporadically amdist K.Flays rapping, in sonically producing some of the best live alternative indie hip hop I’ve ever witnessed. Current, fresh and equally as mesmerizing, I was soon reminiscing over the ilk of Zack de la Rocha’s ‘One Day As A Lion’ outfit. The crowd were equally impressed, their arms chopping the air and bouncing in time with the bands stripped back and hard hitting hip hop.
With the lights dimmed, a smoke filled Riverside gave a deafening cheer as PVRIS were welcomed to the stage, fittingly to strike up with album opener ‘Smoke’. In promotion of debut album White Noise, a series of music videos were released for the majority of the tracks which has no doubt influenced the fans who sing emphatically along with Lynn Gunn’s every word amidst a set list of hits. ‘Mirrors’, ‘St. Patrick’, ‘Fire’ followed suit with Lynn enticing the crowd to constantly jump and wave of which they did ten-fold.
The sound was massive with the band cleverly utilizing an arsenal of samplers, effects, laptops and midi controllers amongst the more traditional rock based guitars, bass and drums to produce a tight blend of electronic alternative rock. Lynn’s powerfull voice cut through with relative ease in displaying perfectly a confident and unique straight edged rock / RnB style, whilst her striking figure jumped around the front of the stage, appreciatively high fiving the adorning front rows of fans.
The following tracks, ‘Only Love’ and ‘Ghosts’ were stripped back with just guitarist Alex providing a lush and ambient delayed guitar sound for Lynn to melodically serenade the crowd with. The now rested audience were soon jumping ferociously and waving in time to the more upbeat songs leading into the latter half of the set. The final encores showcased fully the PVRIS dance-rock element to the delight of the crowd. Penultimate track, ‘You And I’, witnessed everyone singing along with a catchy euphoric-dance “Woaahhh” chorus hook.
Final track, ‘My House’, opened up the crowd mosh pits as hundreds of fans crushed forward for one last high five with Lynn who was now hanging over the barrier, singing the audibly massive half-time chorus; leaving everyone deaf, soaking, exhausted and begging for PVRIS to do it all again real soon.
Photographer – Rhiannon Brown
Business Development for Shapeshifter Films: a video director collective producing music videos for numerous major (and local) artists and businesses.
Brass band trombonist and an alternative folk rock band guitarist.
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