The Jakarta Post
Alvvays performed at We The Fest 2019 at JIExpo Kemayoran, Jakarta (JP/I Gede Dharma JS)
When Canadian indie darling Alvvays released their sophomore album Antisocialites in September 2017, the band was launched onto a new audience full of young girls projecting themselves into the vulnerable yet tomboyish cuteness of singer Molly Rankin.
These girls quickly find that the depths of their feelings are sung by Molly’s sad lyrics on happy melodies while being accompanied by crunchy guitars and bubbly keyboard tunes.
Especially when the music video of the album’s second single, “Dreams Tonite” came out, the dim but colorful retro aesthetics are an appealing answer to the current trend of vintage cameras. The single quickly sends the new fans off to the army of the older and already faithful fans of jangle pop who were baptized by Alvvays’ first and self-titled album released in 2014.
These girls, the ones coming from Indonesia and hailing from nearby Southeast Asian countries, dominated the front row of Alvvays’ debut Indonesian show at We The Fest 2019 on Friday. Many were accompanied by their boyfriends, guarding them from behind against the potentially wild mosh pit. Others came in a group of girlfriends or mix-gender crew, and some came alone but bonded immediately with the common anticipation of having their heartstrings pulled very soon by Molly’s reverb-y vocals and the band’s shoegazy tune.
Fans were already screaming when the stage crew and band members —excluding Molly, prepared their instruments before the show.
“They don’t have any crew or what? Why do they prepare the instrument themselves?” someone in the audience was heard questioning.
Alvvays, like other Northern American indie bands coming to Indonesia such as Beach Fossils and Wild Nothing, take off on tours around the world with a small crew. Despite the huge fanbase which basically puts them into the superstar level in the niche local indie scene, the bands were actually closer to earth than what the fans thought.
The band, however, takes less time than other international bands in preparing their kit. It was not long before the stage lamps were dimmed and the backdrop were changed into their “ALVVAYS” banner, triggering the fans to again scream their lungs out and call for Molly.
Singer Molly Rankin of Alvvays at music festival We The Fest held at JIExpo Kemayoran, Jakarta, on July 19. (JP/I Gede Dharma JS)
Not long afterward, the band members stepped onto the stage: drummer Sheridan Riley, keyboard player Kerri MacLellan, guitar player Alec O’Hanley and bass player Brian Murphy. Molly, with her signature platinum blonde hair, stepped onto the stage last in white shorts and yellow jersey sweater.
The band starts right away with an upbeat number from Antisocialites, “Hey” which is then followed by “Adult Diversion”, a single from their first album.
Molly seemed surprised that the audience knew every word of the song.
“We got back up singers here,” she said, smiling, before greeting the audience.
“Hi, we’re Alvvays from Canada. Has anyone been to Canada before? It’s much colder,” she said, before proceeding to three songs from Antisocialites, “Plimsoll Punks”, “Lollipop”, and “Not My Baby”.
After an interlude, Molly gave her guitar to bass player Brian Murphy, and let herself be showered by the spotlight while serenading softly to “Forget About Life”.
After singing “Your Type” and “Ones Who Love You”, the band took the chance to cover “Divine Hammer” from an often forgotten American alternative band from the 1980s, The Breeders.
Afterwards Alvvays proceeded with “Atop a Cake”, a B side short number “Echolalia”, “Archie Mary Me”, and finally “Dreams Tonite”.
In between songs, Molly shouted out to two girls from the Philippines who came to Indonesia to watch Alvvays, and ran into her at a mall earlier today.
“We met at a mall, and we hugged, and we knocked down a rack of clothes, and a mannequin was decapitated,” she said, “I hope nothing of this story was lost in a translation here.”
Heartbreak song, “Party Police” was played before the last song. Girls in the front row, those with crazy Coachella-esque outfit and those in modest hijab, were seen shedding tears and singing their heart out to “…we can find comfort in debauchery.”
The band concluded their show with upbeat song “Next of a Kin”, sending the audience to an awkward mosh pit situation as some of them were so aroused by the beat and wanted to crowd-surf but most of them wanted to stand still and watch the band while singing along. Nevertheless, all were dancing to the happy tune and sing cheerfully the song’s morbid lyric, which talked about watching a boyfriend die drowning while swimming in a river.
The band quickly left the stage after the song, despite the fans chanting the classic request for encore “We want more!”
It was apparent that Alvvays did not play the encore as the band members —excluding Molly, and the stage crew came back to the stage only to uninstall their instruments. The audience disbanded, and some stayed to try their chance to get the printed set list.
Jakarta is Alvvays’ first stop of their 2019 tour. After We The Fest they are set to perform a gig in Bangkok and Hong Kong before playing at the hype Fuji Rock Festival in Niigata, Japan. They will conclude their tour in Melbourne and Sydney by the beginning of August before taking off again to Spain. (mut)
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