Californian 3-piece Wallows bring hazy hues of springtime to a freezing November North London.
It’s famously difficult to take on the support slot at a huge venue. Those that accept the role perform to a room of fans that haven’t come to see them, all of whom are negotiating their ideal vantage point, chatting with anticipation and stocking up on beers.
Because of these obstacles, which are only amplified in a room the size of Alexandra Palace, support artists are often viewed as little more than entrance music, rather than an entrée of any discernible interest to those who have paid £37.50 for a ticket.
As LA Indie-kids Wallows take to the stage in support of Vampire Weekend, however, there was already an unusually high number of fans waiting for them to commence their set. There could be many reasons for this; droves of weekday gig goers coming straight from work, or a widespread curiosity in frontman Dylan Minette’s day job as the star of Netflix series 13 Reasons Why.
Regardless of the reasons for the crowds so early in the evening, Wallows did more than enough to justify the attendance, with a 12-song setlist celebrating adolescence and sunny days in the California suburbs.
The LA trio opened their set with 2019 single ‘Scrawny’, before immediately satisfying the hardcores with three tracks that pre-date this year’s debut album.
Dylan, Braedan & Cole were last in the UK over the summer, in support of their LP Nothing Happens, and in the short number of months since they sold out Electric Brixton, it is visible to see the band growing in confidence.
During ‘These Days’, Dylan exudes a fresh self-assurance that has been building over the course of a successful album campaign, whilst the group have vitally held on to the youthful vulnerability that Wallows have come to encapsulate both sonically and visibly.
As with many of the best artists from the slacker-pop scene, Wallows setlist can occasionally verge on monotonous – rarely veering from their very clearly defined lane musically.
The set climaxed with Clairo collaboration ‘Are You Bored Yet?’ – a track which has grown to become an unexpected hit, following the meteoric rise of both artists in the wake of the track being recorded.
It is important not to let Dylan Minette’s extraordinary fame eclipse or belittle the credentials of this band – who have picked up an inconceivable following off the back of a strong debut record and an unrelenting touring schedule.
Dylan’s role in 13 Reasons Why may be a strong opening line for a press release, but that alone is not enough to sustain a career in music; Wallows have more than proven their capabilities at this level and a band the size of Vampire Weekend are certainly under no publicity-driven pressure to choose a support act based upon anything other than merit.
If Dylan & Co. maintain this steady rise, step outside of their box and embrace the persona’s that they teased flashes of this evening; who’s to say that they won’t be back at Alexandra Palace in a couple of years. With somebody else in support.