Gary Lawrence finds Circa Waves likeable – but ultimately forgettable

Circa Waves

O2 Academy Oxford

March 25 2017

They arrive on stage bathed in red light, pick up their guitars and launch into high octane, machine gun drum, feelgood indie-pop and, having reached that pitch, they pretty much stay there the whole night.

There are three guitars and drums and just the occasional keyboard sound, which I guess is piped in because there is no evidence of one.

Those guitars are kept frantically busy all night long, so much so that the bass breaks at one point.

Frontman Kieran Shuddall is an engaging chap with a cheery smile.

His songs are catchy but easily disposable but they go down brilliantly with the young crowd. And boy is it a young crowd. I feel like Arthur Negus at a rave.

So lacking in years are those around me I have to fight the urge to tell them to stand up straight and stop running in the corridor. I doubt if more than 20 per cent of the males in the audience has ever troubled the shaving counter at Boots.

In among them though is an older guy, probably five years north of me. He is bouncing around like a beach ball in the back of a fast-moving lorry. I guess he may be the parent of a band member but maybe he just likes the music.

If he does he was probably bouncing around in similar fashion at an Undertones gig 40 years ago because, like them and Scouting For Girls and McFly (to pluck a couple of names at random), Circa Waves are bouncy, cheeky and fun with an arsenal of likeable but ultimately forgettable songs that tick all the boxes for a Tuborg-fuelled Saturday night out without really getting hold of your soul.

They may thrash the guitar strings but they don’t clutch at the heartstrings. Except maybe for in the encore when their biggest single T-Shirt Weather lifts the roof off.

It is an anthem to lost days of adolescent summer and goes deeper into the memory bank than the rest of the catalogue.

Gary Lawrence 3/5