PVRIS @ Academy 1 - Live Review
It's a big night for PVRIS and their rapidly growing fan base. Their Manchester crowd has grown massively since the last time they were here playing the much smaller Academy 3 and are playing one of the of the most loved venues in the whole of Manchester, Academy 1. Never before had I seen such a big line of fans waiting for the doors to a gig open with it stretching across 3 blocks on Oxford Road with some of the fans looking like they had been stood in the grim Northern weather for hours with nothing but umbrellas and using bin-bags as emergency rain coats protecting them.
The first support was band called Alvarez Kings. They came on stage to a cautious crowd who were not sure what to make of the Yorkshire four piece who were all dressed in black and have a mysterious look to them. They started playing a slow and melodic tune that rapidly changed into heavy guitar parts with massive drops that got some of the crowd moving. The lead singer gave it his all dancing around the stage taking full advantage of the huge space the Academy provides before jumping off the stage as the song came to an end thereby giving the crowd an up close experience. After a few more acoustic songs the band left the stage but not before telling everyone to come say hello to them later at the merch stand. It is obvious that they love what they do and love to meet new fans.
The venue went dark and the crowd became completely silent until two members of K-Flay walked on stage and lay down a catchy drum beat resembling something from US band Twenty One Pilots. Then the lead singer ran on stage dancing greeting Manchester with all he had. With the fast paced drums and heavy guitar it was both mind blowing and confusing when they start to rap on the chorus'. This was not what the crowd was expecting but from the audience participation, it was obvious they loved it. By the fourth song everyone had their arms up high, lighters out and phone torches glowing whilst dancing to the bands poppy grime tunes. They went on to play a strange song that was very energetic but had some questionable lyrics OCD, narcissistic, manic depressive, slit your wrists. They went off with a very dark sounding song that's when Lynn, the lead singer of PVRIS, turned up and took over from the drummer and the crowd exploded as their teen idol had joined the support band on stage. Lynn went on to tell us all that it was exclusive just for us and then thanked us.
Finally it was time for PVRIS to take to the stage after watching some very different artists. The lights went off and a giant backdrop of a broken mirror was flashing with a dark tune playing through the PA . The stage was suddenly lit up by flashing strobes and light bars and all members of the band except Lynn were on stage going in to start to play their set opening song. Then, out of nowhere, she was on stage in her signature all black outfit. There was a massive drop and the crowd continued into madness. You could see the band were giving it everything and looking like they were having the most fun a group could have when on stage at a sold out Manchester Academy. The usual soft and adorable high notes were screamed which just excited the crowd even further, entering them onto a whole new level of musical heaven. The dancing stopped and they started playing some of their lesser known and darker songs which demonstrates the bands more Pop Goth sound. The whole venue is lit up red and the broken mirror on the backdrop has now turned faded into a moon. The atmosphere was dark but oddly satisfying with the way it fitted with the tone of the songs.
Then the moon turned into a dark red hole symbolizing how the songs were getting sung more in an angry tone. Lynn picks up a guitar and belts out a verse with the crowd joining in, everything is still blood red, leaving an almost evil sense to their set. The music comes to a pause while they talk about how far they have come and it was only last year they were only playing Academy 3 and thanking us all for coming to see them tonight. They drop straight into a stripped back, minimalist rendition of Stay and the backdrop has turned into a crack free mirror and the crowd re-enter the chaos that opened the bands set. The mirror then turns into a picture of Lynn while she sings a love song that has the feel of a dark and ghost like teenage prom but contradicts itself with blue lighting that makes everything look all happy. Finally they play Let Them In which is easily one of the band’s most loved songs and the crowd are in a frenzy. With that the band go off stage giving people time to breath and gather their thoughts on what they just witnessed.
The band return to the stage and play You And I which is a new song, everyone is singing their hearts out too it. A music friendly atmosphere could be felt across the whole venue as every single person in the crowd jumps into a chaotic rush. The band completes their set by playing My House which the crowd just can't get enough off.
Words: Ewan Gilbert / Photos: Cai Dixon