Live Review: Half Alive - Dingwalls, London 21/02/2019

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Selling out London’s Dingwalls this Thursday night, half alive blew my expectations for their debut London show right out of the window.

We were hoping for a little bit of dancing, reminiscent of their music videos that no doubt created the breakthrough for the band late last year. What we got instead was a choreographed 45 minute set with backup dancers, dance intervals, projected illustrations and above all, one hell of a performance from the vocalist and band making up the name that will be on everyone’s playlists soon enough, half alive. 

The air was filled with anticipation and the buzz could be felt immediately when you entered the venue. Before the first song, the crew brought on a large white sheet that covered the instruments, creating a cool effect when they projected illustrations on top of it. This created a low-budget but effective teaser for the production of the show to come. 

The sheet disappeared when the band members entered the stage and began their show with ‘The Fall.’ Vocalist, Josh Taylor, started the show sitting at the piano but with his confident vocals, the energy of the show was still palpable. The venue only has a capacity of 450 people and was filled to the brim with half alive fans who indulged themselves in a sing-a-long. The room was soon divided into harmonies and ‘oohs’. From the first song you could tell that the crowd were ecstatic to finally be seeing this band live and in the flesh. I received an earful of female screams about how good it was and there is no doubt that the rest of the crowd felt the same. 

Their set was swathed in lights and movement; all of the tracks a complex mixture of major and minor tones. This band oozes individuality across all their tracks and also treated us to a mash-up cover of Thinking Out Loud and If I Ain’t Got You. Trombone and trumpet players casually strolled on to the stage for a couple of verses of some tracks as if they had been there the whole time. This kind of unexpected addition kept the crowd jumping around and on their toes for the whole show. They pulled out all the stops for this show, despite it being such a small venue. If you thought the crowd was in love before, their reactions to this really sealed the deal. 

There was not a single person in the venue not dancing along and soaking up the energy of the dancing on stage, Josh Taylor joining two backup dancers to recreate the dance moves from their music videos in all their glory. It was truly a sight to be beheld. 

Leaving the venue, we remember that this is their first tour, their first London show and we really hope that it is not their last. This band are blasting through the music industry at such a fast rate that there is nothing but anticipation for where their music will take them next.

Words by Jesse Wells
Photography by Max Herridge