Ryan Bowman

It’s not every day a smaller band can pull off two nights in a row at Union Transfer. Selling both of them out? That’s impressive.

Of course, it might be unfair to call Canadian indie band Alvvays (pronounced Always) a smaller band. Although they may not be known to a more alternative fan, they are certainly a common name for their indie niche.  Hailing from Toronto, they released their self-titled debut album in July of 2014 and it quickly gained a lot of attention and topped the U.S. College charts just a month later. They toured extensively in support of the album, making stops at major festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury. Their sophomore album Antisocialites was released last September to more great press and a few hit radio singles.

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The crowd was already packed in the venue to see opening sets from Hatchie and Snail Mail, who were great openers and fit the vibe for the night perfectly. The lights dimmed and the band took the stage, and hit the opening melodic notes for “Hey,” from Antisocialites. They switched it back to their first album for “Atop a Cake,” before lead singer Molly Rankin stopped to introduce the band to the energetic crowd. “I’ll be honest I’ve been really sick lately,” Molly smiled. “Thanks for coming to see me screech out some lyrics. I’ve got a bucket on stage, don’t worry,” she laughed.

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They bounced around between their two albums, playing a little bit of everything from both albums. Ranging from their self-described jangle-pop of “Plimsoll Punks,” to more relaxed tunes like “Not My Baby,” they showed off their array of musical genres and ability to captivate a crowd. The packed house was loving every tempo change and the vocal range displayed by Rankin despite her sickness. Towards the end of the set they brought out some of the more diverse songs that featured upbeat guitar beats and keyboard, like “Adult Diversion.” Rankin’s vocals continually impressed me throughout the night with her ability to switch between more upbeat licks and a more melodic drawl that took the backseat to guitars and melody.

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They finished their set with “Next of Kin,” featuring some nifty guitar riffs from Rankin and Alex O’Hanley but you could tell they had a surprise in store for the crowd when they left the stage. They returned a few minutes later joined by Hatchie and Snail Mail to cover The Hummingbirds song, “Alimony,” for what could be the most indie thing I have ever witnessed.

Check out the setlist below:

  1. Hey
  2. Atop a Cake
  3. In Undertow
  4. Plimsoll Punks
  5. Lollipop (Ode to Jim)
  6. Not My Baby
  7. Forget About Life
  8. Your Type
  9. Adult Diversion
  10. Echolalia
  11. Archie, Marry Me
  12. Dreams Tonite
  13. Party Police
  14. Next of Kin

    Encore

  15. Alimony
    (The Hummingbirds cover) (with Snail Mail and Hatchie)

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