On January 18th, I had the pleasure of going down to see Wallows at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith. With their fans having poured in from all over London to see the band during their one night there, it took over an hour for everyone to get in — so in the meantime, their opener MAY-A took the stage with an electric performance. The Australian singer/songwriter’s alternative-indie setlist was a surefire way to get the fans excited for the band to come; by their last song, MAY-A had the whole crowd jumping around, making for a great start to the night. Even after the bass stopped blaring and the stage began to be cleared, the crowd still palpably thrummed with excitement for the Wallows.
The trio: Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters, and Cole Preston, started their set on a high, going right into it with "I Don’t Want to Talk" from their new album, Tell Me That It’s Over (after which their tour is named). You could hear that every fan in the audience knew every word — that is, when they weren't screaming. And the noise only increased from there: the audience seemed to lose their minds when Braeden told everyone, “We’re bringing it back to 2017”; a signal to longtime fans that one of the band’s first releases, ‘Sun Tan’, was about to start playing.
Wallows's live performance was interesting in that the vibes of each band member balanced those of the others, with Dylan getting into the music and performance, Braeden rocking out, and Cole mellowing the two. A few songs in, however, the dynamic switched, and Dylan took to the drums in place of Cole for ‘Quarterback’, making way for the rare occasion in which Preston provides lead vocals for the group. The crowd ate it up, and you could only admire how the chilled-out drummer could command everyone’s attention from centre-stage. Nevertheless, the two soon swapped back again, with Dylan's return to the mic bringing the energy back up to eleven for ‘Scrawny’. Amidst all the hype, cannons rained colourful confetti onto the crowd, and I confess I may even have taken a piece as a memento of the night — although I knew this live performance was already unforgettable.
Towards the end of the set, Wallows started to slow things down, giving both the band and the audience a chance to relax and appreciate the moment. The lights dimmed down to a single spotlight on Dylan for ‘Guitar Romantic Search Adventure’. It wasn’t long before hundreds of phones went up, flashlights on, the arms of their owners waving in the air. Despite the last hour of jamming out that everyone had taken part in, it was during this song in particular that you could see the unity within the crowd. It was clear that everyone there ardently loved the band and their music, and this slower song gave the audience the perfect moment to collectively show their love.
Of course, even after the three left the stage, the show wasn’t over. Fans immediately started to call them back for just one more song, chanting the words as one. Much to the crowd's delight, the boys played not one, but two more songs for their encore — and it wouldn’t be a Wallows show without ending the night with their hit song ‘Are You Bored Yet’, which features Clairo. As the intro to the song played, I was surprised to hear the fans sing the beginning instrumental, as if these beats, too, were lyrics. The audience participation didn’t stop there, as Dylan gave everyone a chance to be part of the song, by pointing the mic outwards and letting the fans scream the words to their heart's content.
The show was fantastic, the energy buzzing across all of the Wallows-loving fans. The band had kept the audience engaged not just through their music but by taking the time to talk to their fans, showing their gratitude to the London audience and reverence to the historic venue. The only thing that would’ve made the show better would be if it had lasted longer — by its end, I'm sure everyone in the crowd was thinking, 'please, don't "Tell Me That It's Over"'.
Edited by Talia Andrea, Music Editor