Intriguing contradictions of Pale Waves

British up-and-comer Pale Waves performed for the first time in Finland in Ilosaarirock on Friday evening.

One of the best thing about festivals is going to see bands that you have never seen or heard of before. This year I decided that that band is going to be Pale Waves. This British band is one of the most interesting new comer of the indie rock scene. Their music has been called as indie pop, indie rock, synth-pop, dream pop and goth-pop to name but a few. Sounds intriguing, I thought and headed towards Metelli Stage on Friday evening of Ilosaarirock.

At first, the tent was quite empty with some hardcore fans waiting in the front row.  As the lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie and the rest of the band walked on stage and started their first song, something inspiring happened. People actually started dancing right away. I was amazed! They actually brought forth a dance pit in the crowd that kept on dancing for the whole duration of the gig. People packed to the tent and the party truly started.

Pale Waves. Photo: Tomas Aphalo

Pale Waves has stirred up a lot of conversation about their music genre, style and even looks. Both the singer Heather Baron-Gracie and the drummer Ciara Doran rock a quite dark, gothic look that does not really match their cheerful pop. Contradictions do not stop there. Even the lyrics and the sounds of the songs themselves are in an intriguing clash with each other. Listening and looking at this band is baffling yet delightful. And the other festival goers of Ilosaarirock think so too.

During the band’s first gig in Finland, we heard songs mostly from their debut album ”My mind makes noises” that was released in 2018. The songs were catchy yet nicely gloomy at the same time. The lyrics stuck to my head long after the gig was over. We got to hear songs such as Television Romance, New Year’s Eve, My Obsession and Noises. Even though Heather Baron-Gracie has said in an interview that she does not think that she is much of a singer, but rather a songwriter and a performer, her amazing voice is what I’m drawn to the most. Her powerful and clear voice has been compared to the voice of the late Cranberries singer Dolore O’Riordan and for a good reason.

Baron-Gracie is energetic and at times even fierce in her performance. The audience is thrilled and all kinds of people join the dance pit in the middle of the tent. But sadly all parties must come to an end. The band disappears as quickly as they arrived. The audience wants more but this time we are out of luck. As smiling festival goers leave Metelli Stage I think to my self that this truly is the best thing about festivals, finding new amazing bands to listen to.


Text: Tuuli Ahonen
Photo: Tomas Aphalo

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