Crowds lined up around the block of the Electric Factory Sept. 30 for the Circa Waves and Two Door Cinema Club show.
As the doors opened, a rush of of scantily clad teenagers and hipster millenials eagerly made their way inside to escape one of the first brisk fall nights in Philadelphia. A combination of both British and Irish accents was heard throughout the packed venue, presumably due to both bands originating from the United Kingdom. The crowd was eager and ready for a great show.
The stage was completely dark before Circa Waves frontman Kieran Shudall took the stage. He slowly walked toward the center and started performing with nothing but a singular blue light illuminating the stage. The simplistic lighting remained, with alternating blue and red and then blue and green lights.
Circa Waves is an indie rock band from Liverpool, England. Their sound is known as being reminiscent of fellow Brit-rock bands such as The Strokes and The Kooks. They released their first album, “Young Chasers,” in 2015 which contained their hits “T-Shirt Weather” and “Fossils.” This past year they released the album, “Different Creatures,” which is more of an emotionally deep album in comparison to “Young Chasers.”
“Different Creatures” has an evolved sound, more reminiscent of Linkin Park and Bright Eyes. This re-affirms my theory that the early 2000s alternative music scene is truly making a comeback. Heartbreak, loss and disappointment are big themes, but with the majority of songs being those you can dance to. In “Love’s Run Out” they remind us of their emotional capacity: “Say you’ll never leave me/ that you’ll never be in doubt/ and I’ll love you till my love’s run out.” If that line doesn’t convince you of an “emo renaissance,” I don’t know what will.
While the band does have a softer side, they keep up their rockstar image in the album’s opening song “Wake Up.” This song is upbeat and most similar to their past album. Essentially, “Wake Up” is about drinking too much and having “too much ground” to make up the next day. Keeping that rockstar mentality, they continue with “It’s alright, cause I can’t wait to see the trouble here tonight.” This song is a reminder to not take life too seriously, which is a mentality that many people honestly need in their lives right now.
The band also chose to address a political issue in their song “Different Creatures.” The song references the ban on the number of Syrian refugees the UK government imposed: “20,000 souls are sold tonight, make us their home.” Making a political statement is clearly a bolder move than singing about “T-Shirt Weather.” I am excited to see the continued evolution of this band. The crowd absolutely loved them, they played well together and had a great live sound. This was the band’s sixth trip to Philadelphia, and will most definitely not be their last.
Two Door Cinema Club headlined the show. Unlike Circa Waves, they had intricate lighting and graphics. They opened their set with strobe lights, playing “Cigarettes In The Theatre,” one of their hits from their popular 2010 album, “Tourist History.” Originating from Ireland, they have been making music together since 2007. Additional albums include “Beacon,” released in 2012, and “Gameshow,” which recently came out in 2016.
They played a solid 18 songs, contrasting Circa Waves with bold, flashing graphics behind them for the entirety of the show. Standout performances included “Undercover Martyn,” “I Can Talk” and their encore song, “What You Know.”
Lead singer Alex Trimble, who was killing it in a leopard-print jacket, closed the show saying, “It’s been a f—ing amazing year and a half, and we’re going to run away and write some new songs.” Like Circa Waves, they have played in Philadelphia many times, and are excited to make their return after making their new album. Both bands played an amazing show and I would encourage anyone to go see them if they get a chance.