Live Review: Half•Alive at HERE

California-based trio half•alive has come a long way. From being “that one band with the fun lights in the music video” – aka the enthralling video to their now uber-famous hit ‘Still Feel’ – to releasing three incredible full-length records and supporting the alt-kings Twenty One Pilots on their most recent world tour, they have slowly but surely made a name for themselves in the scene. Not so long ago, the group brought their stellar live show to London’s famed HERE at Outernet for a sold-out concert that will be hard to ever forget.

Resembling a theatre performance and divided into four parts – summer, fall, winter, spring – the band started off their gig with a massive white sheet being held up in front of the stage, with frontman Josh Taylor performing behind it and their two accompanying dancers from JA Collective adding another layer with an intricate light show and perfectly timed choreographies. It’s exactly what has made the three-piece so special from the start – their implementation of dance in their identity as a band, whether that is in their music videos or live concerts.

Moving through the seasons and telling a story of friendship, love and loss, the group offered an eclectic insight into their musical journey, playing tracks from their earliest days, for example the bouncy tracks ‘The Fall’ and ‘Tip Toes’, up to their newest single, the smooth ‘Beige’, which had just been released a couple of days before the show as part of the new ‘BOSE X NME C23’ mixtape. With over thirty songs being celebrated together with their enamoured crowd, the concert reached a significant high once singer Taylor had been left to his own devices and sat down at the piano to embark into their serene, heartfelt ballad ‘Lost’, and the whole room quieted down. Slowly after, his band mates Brett Kramer (drums) and J Tyler Johnson (bass) rejoined him, and what had begun as a singular song quickly transformed into a transcendental medley of some of their most beloved hits, like ‘Aawake at Night’, ‘ok ok?’ and ‘arrow’.

But that wasn’t where the surprises ended. While stand-out numbers like ‘RUNAWAY’, ‘Summerland’ and ‘Make of It’ had the whole venue bouncing from the front to the back, it was the song ‘Nobody’ that led to the sound barrier getting close to being broken as its first notes introduced none other than the popular indie fairy Dodie, who had previously worked together with half•alive on the very same track. Floating around the stage and jumping over the white blocks that had been used throughout the show to continuously transform the space, the singer radiated nothing but contagious joy and happiness through the room and carried a definite highlight to the magical night.

Bringing everything to a close with the effervescent ‘creature’, the trio fashioned a show of a lifetime and made sure to make their mark while staying true to their unique characteristics as a band and to what is most important to them. Always circling back to the inspirations behind their music and putting just that at the forefront while purposely not making use of the giant screens available to them, half•alive proved that they are a band to be reckoned with, and we already can’t wait to welcome them back to the capital.

Written by Laura Weingrill / photography by Mattia Ghisolfi

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