Live Review: Alvvays, Major Leagues, The Great Outdoors

7 March 2016 | 11:39 am | Tobias Handke

"One poor lass bears the brunt of their jokes when she confuses Canadian Club whisky for a beer..."

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Newcomers The Great Outdoors take to the stage first and try their best to engage the crowd with dreamy melodic-pop numbers. Shout out to the xylophone player. Top effort.

Brisbane four-piece Major Leagues have better luck. They get punters grooving along to their nostalgia-filled surf-pop, which is very reminiscent of headliners Alvvays albeit with an Aussie twang. They're energetic and fun to watch, with the triple-threat, vocal-harmony attack of the guitarists working a treat. Triple j favourites Endless Drain and Teen Mums get the best reaction from this band on the rise.

As the lights dim and Celtic music blazes from the speakers, the curtains part to reveal our main act, Alvvays. The sold-out audience clap and yell their approval as vocalist/guitarist Molly Rankin's greets everyone with her beaming smile before launching into the jangly opener Atop A Cake. With only one album to their name, Alvvays' setlist is easy to predict, with the majority of tracks taken from their super self-titled debut. Adult Diversion, The Agency Group and Party Police are crowd favourites, with punters nodding and swaying along to the '60s-infused guitar riffs and rhythms drenched in hazy reverb.

The banter between Rankin and fellow guitarist Alec O'Hanley is top-notch. They share tales about smuggling wine on their flight from Sydney, Rankin's fascination with the Australian pronunciation of the word "bitch" and then converse about bad Canadian wine. One poor lass bears the brunt of their jokes when she confuses Canadian Club whisky for a beer, then the entire crowd turn on her for recommending the band visit St Kilda beach for a swim. Rankin is sympathetic, telling her, "We all have days like this," then it's back to business with more tunes. 

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A handful of newbies get a look in and fit well with Alvvays' feel-good sound. Reverb rears its head again on Hey while the beach-rock harmonies of New Haircut are a standout. The crowd enjoys both as they bop along, which leads Rankin to comment, "Sydney didn't dance," which inspires a few laughs and shouts from the crowd. Covers are a standard in the Alvvays live show and tonight is no exception, with the band tackling English singer Kirsty MacColl's He's On The Beach. It may seem an odd choice but, with lyrics that reference Australia, it's quite apt and Alvvays do the original justice. The evening ends with an inevitable encore. New to the live set, the brooding, slow Red Planet is a strange choice, but all is forgotten with final cut Next Of Kin, which sends everyone into a hot mess of joy as our brilliant evening of music comes to a close.