PVRIS // O2 Apollo, Manchester // 28.11.17
It’s a freezing cold Tuesday night in Manchester, but luckily for 3000+ audience members of the packed out Apollo, PVRIS are in town to perform their biggest headline show to date. The band shot to huge heights in 2014 with the release of their debut album ‘White Noise’, gaining a large, dedicated following in process. Despite their following, the White Noise run saw them play arguably modest sized venues, opting for sell out academy shows as opposed to the larger venues. This tour is easily the biggest solo run they’ve done so far and it comes in support of their new album All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell.
The three piece (joined by touring drummer Justin Nace) grace the stage to a huge roar as they open with the album’s lead single and opener; ‘Heaven’. It’s evident from the start that the band are relishing the chance to finally be let loose on a larger stage such as this with the lighting design proving to be an excellent spectacle. Lead singer Lynn patrols the stage from the left to right as legions of crazed fans reach out in the hope of making eye contact with one of their idols.
The crowd continue to bounce into fan favourite track ‘St Patrick’ although it’s at this point a few problems become apparent. Lynn is clearly too dependant on the crowd as she simply fails to sing to sing large portions of the songs. It’s been awhile since I listened to ‘St Patrick’ and despite me thinking it’s an absolutely fantastic song, I’m pretty rusty on the lyrics and consequently it’s really difficult to sing along and get into it. It doesn’t help that the band are so reliant on a backing track for almost every song too. The harmonies that are meant to be working with Lynn’s voice for the most part are just distracting and the fact that elements such as the ‘woahs’ in the chorus for the band’s biggest song ‘You and I’ are on backing track just doesn’t make sense to me. I feel like I’m spending too much time during each song working out what each member of the band is actually playing instead of enjoying the music.
It takes 6 six songs before Lynn properly greets the audience for the first time. When it does come it’s however kind, friendly and genuine. You can appreciate that the band are genuinely thankful to be in the position they’re in. This is then followed with Lynn & Alex performing a stripped back version of ‘Same Soul’ which easily becomes a highlight of the evening. Gone with the backing track and now with just a keyboard, guitar and vocals; what comes is bold and unfeigned. Lynn’s voice is given a moment to shine, not lost in waves of different musical layers and it’s safe to say that it’s pretty epic.
The band make their way through the rest of their 13 song set performing tracks off of their new album in abundance. I’ve got to mention that Justin Nace does an absolutely fantastic job on drums. It gets to the point where I’m genuinely annoyed that he isn’t a full time member of the band because he’s so great. Latest single ‘Anyone Else’ cements itself as another one of my highlights of the night as PVRIS prove how easily they’re able to blend emotionally driven ballads with electronicy alt rock.
To put it plainly, the majority of the fans in attendance tonight will have absolutely enjoyed it. For me however, I feel there was simply just something lacking. I think PVRIS could do with having a think about reworking the way some of the songs are performed live just to give them that extra push. Make no mistake though, PVRIS are only going up. They are already huge and I’m certain they’re going to be around for many years to come.