Toronto-based Canadian indie rock band, Alvvays, embarked on their fall tour following the release of their third album, “Blue Rev,” which was released Oct. 7 after a much anticipated five year wait. Madison was the first — unannounced — stop on their tour before heading to Chicago. It just so happened to be the first ever Homecoming Kickoff Concert.
The performance was originally scheduled for the Memorial Union Terrace, but due to weather circumstances including freezing temperatures and a rain-hail combination earlier in the day, it got moved to Shannon Hall. Students began lining up around 6 p.m., despite a show start time of 7 p.m.
Tension could be felt in the theater as students packed in and waited with anticipation for the performance to commence. Slow Pulp, the indie rock band reigning from Madison now based in Chicago, put on a very juice opening show. The second they filed out from behind the curtain, the audience shot up from their seats. The quartet’s stage presence was nonchalant, emulating swagger as fronted by birthday girl, Emily Massey, herself.
Massey was on vocals and guitar, backed up by Henry Stoehr also on guitar, as well as Teddy Mathews on drums and Alex Leeds on bass, who occasionally lent his voice for vocals.
The four band members, who previously toured with Alex G, were dimly lit by spotlights from above. They made subtle nods and cracked smiles to each other as they sauntered around the stage. Their companionship and casual demeanor could be felt from afar.
Slow Pulp performed a short set of songs and singles, from well known bang-your-head tracks like “Steel Birds,” to “Montana,” which featured Massey busting out a harmonica. Their calm and courteous exit was followed by a short intermission as their equipment was packed up by stage hands.
After another brief announcement from the Homecoming Committee and WUD Music, the stars of the hour finally took the stage. Alvvays, consisting of frontwoman Molly Rankin on vocal and guitar, Sheridan Riley on drums, Kerri MacLellan on the keyboard, Abbey Blackwell on bass and last but not least, Alec O’Hanley on guitar and synthesizer.
On their way to Madison, the crew was in an accident, which Rankin attributed to as the reason for the late start. Their drummer was on the bus but was very much okay and able to perform as if nothing had even happened.
Many tracks from “Blue Rev” were showcased, including “Belinda Says,” “Pharmacist,” “Easy On Your Own?” and synth-heavy “Very Online Guy.” Alvvays also made sure to play fan favorites including “Dreams Tonite” and “Archie, Marry Me.” Rankin gave a fair warning before engaging in a “tender moment” with “Not My Baby” from their 2017 “Antisocilites” album.