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Monday, June 24, 2024
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Alvvays performance at the Sylvee April 24, 2024.

Alvvays mesmerizes Sylvee with indie-pop perfection

The Canadian indie-pop band captivated the crowd with dreamy visuals and synth sounds during their fifth stop in their U.S. Spring tour.

Canadian indie-pop band Alvvays rocked the Sylvee on April 24, performing their 2022 critically acclaimed album “Blue Rev” and fan favorite tracks like “Archie, Marry Me” and “Dreams Tonite” during their fifth stop in their U.S. Spring tour.

Cheers from the sold-out Sylvee crowd erupted as singer-songwriter Molly Rankin, Kerri MacLellan (keyboard), Alec O'Hanley (lead guitar), Sheridan Riley (drums) and Abbey Blackwell (bass) entered the stage. A beautiful projection of the band’s logo created a dreamy ambiance as they began their set. Washed in soft azure light, it looked as if the musicians were submerged in water. 

The stage production was fairly stripped down, with the projected backdrop as a main focus. Images like a glittering disco ball were overlapped with closeups of the band and their instruments, all with a continuous hazy blue hue. 

Many members of Alvvays grew up on islands in the Maritime provinces of eastern Canada, making the ocean an inspiration for their aesthetic. 

Alvvays Concert
Alvvays performs at The Sylvee on April 24, 2024.

Alvvays opened their set with their hit single “Easy on Your Own?”, an upbeat jam with enough volume to wake up the crowd. The first line, “I dropped out / College education's a dull knife,” was humorous juxtaposed with a crowd brimming with University of Wisconsin-Madison students. Rankin’s yearning vocals mixed with O’Hanley’s droning, melancholic chords were visibly moving to the headbanging crowd. 

Other standout tracks included “Very Online Guy” in which Rankin performed the entire vocal intensive song while crouched over, playing a synth on the floor. Reaching the high notes in this song with her angelic tone encouraged many whoops and hollers from fans. Meanwhile, vintage footage of digital paraphernalia like wires and keyboards lit up the background throughout the 1980s-inspired track. 

MacLellan and Riley’s harmonic backing vocals in the fan favorite “Not My Baby” was borderline ethereal, while “After the Earthquake” brought the tempo up and had the Sylvee crowd hopping from foot to foot. 

The night passed in a blur, with the band rarely stopping to talk in between tracks.  

To open the night’s festivities, the New Orleans-based band Spllit brought a unique and funky sound to the buzzing venue. Spllit had a strong B-52’s influence with songs full of talky vocals, stabby bass lines and futuristic sound effects. 

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Alvvays choosing such a time capsule of an opener makes complete sense because their music is often inspired by bands of the past. Rankin has described The Smiths as one of her main influences. Their jangly, dreamy guitar sound is definitely reminiscent of Johnny Marr. 

Molly Rankin
Molly Rankin onstage at The Sylvee.

Perhaps this vintage aura is what drew so many young fans to The Sylvee. Their massive fanbase could also stem from Rankin’s addictive melodies. It was impossible for fans to not sing along, but paradoxically, many in The Sylvee’s pit were silent, awestruck by Rankin’s powerful vocals. 

In the encore, Rankin performed an insane guitar solo on “Pharmacist,” further proving her musical talent. For their final song she asked the crowd for requests, eventually settling on “Next of Kin” from their debut album. O'Hanley’s echoing and bright lead guitar shined in this perfect conclusion to the night. 

Few crowd members had their phones out throughout the performance, a rare spectacle in a social media-obsessed world. This shows how distinct Alvvays is as a band, inspiring listeners to simply experience the moment and enjoy their music. 

The Sylvee’s crowd turnout and subsequent worship of Rankin’s songwriting and vocal abilities have further proven Alvvays as icons in their genre. 

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