Manchester Academy // Wednesday 11th January 2023

“This is the English energy I remember” – a Moshmag review by Jess Mason // Photography by Matt Eachus

It was a rainy Wednesday night, but there would be no wallowing from fans as they
prepared for the high energy show of their lives by the indie-rock trio Wallows.
The L.A. guitar-pop band sold out Manchester Academy as part of their UK tour for their
sophomore album Tell Me That It’s Over, which explores a variety of genres from rock to

Wallows, made up of Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston, have only
played Manchester once in summer 2019, so this would have been the first time for many
seeing them live.
With an expeditious hour-long set-list full of old fan favourites and new material, they did
not disappoint.

Kicking off the night was support act MAY-A, a Sydney indie-pop singer-songwriter who
bounced effortlessly around the stage providing positive energy and gay anthems about
falling in love with straight women. A mix of sounds similar to indie-folk beabadobee
combined with Mimi Webb’s classic pop, she got the audience singing back and clapping
above their heads.

The lights going down and the opening fast drumbeats of lead single I Don’t Want to Talk were met with instant screams, which were amplified when frontman Dylan Minnette revealed a harmonica from behind his back almost like a magician.
At points it was difficult to hear the group over the cheers and singing of every lyric, but the trance-inducing synths of the 2018 classic 1980s Horror Film II and dreamlike sliding guitars in Pictures of Girls were never going to go completely unnoticed as they dominated the speakers.

I did not think the crowd could get any more excited until they broke out into unison singing
the opening riff to debut album track Remember When, so much so that Minnette
exclaimed “This is the English energy I remember”. An immense sense of euphoria filled the
room as everyone realised they were strapped into a night of great live music.
Although their coming-of-age sound is nothing ground-breaking, it is impossible to not have
a boogie and it is unique that each member of the band take stand at the mic and have a go
at singing.
However, it is clear that 13 Reasons Why actor Dylan Minnette is the natural born front-man
and gave a raw performance, punching and swinging his guitar during the band’s first
release Pleaser in 2017.

As indicated through their band name Wallows, their performance was always going to be
emotional as they sing about mental health struggles “Cause recently the line is blurred /
Between depression and bliss”.

Though, this is not the only thing they sing about as the humorous line in 1980s Horror Film II “Oh, why are girls in songs always 17?” breaks the fourth wall about cliché song writing.
Instead of Tell Me That It’s Over being what is often known as the dreaded second album, there is an explicit musical progression from their preppy indie-pop debut Nothing Happens.
Especially in live stand out tracks such as Missing Out where the crunchy guitars juxtapose the mellow piano perfectly.

Wallows also branch out with different instruments as Minnette did cool body ripples at the
same time as playing the tambourine in Just Like A Movie and the appearance of a trumpet
in the sped up Sun Tan saw the highest jumps from the crowd; followed by a One Direction
cover of What Makes You Beautiful by Lemasters to which surprised fans bellowed the lyrics
back. It is safe to say that the group know how to enthral their audience.

Then it was time for the world’s catchiest song Scrawny, and if you didn’t know the lyrics at
the start of the song, you sure would by the end as the funky repetitive nature of the lyric
“I’m a scrawny motherfucker with a cool hairstyle” is annoyingly brilliant.
It is often typical of American artists to have a set design, and Wallows’ was simple yet
effective of multiple lamps dotted around the stage. Although, someone near me in the
crowd jokingly proclaimed, “Do they know there is a cost-of-living crisis with all of those

Multi-coloured stage lighting accompanied the set’s closing track Guitar Romantic Search Adventure, which matched the beautiful melodies and elongated guitars of the number.
However, this was not enough for fans as they erupted into chants of ‘one more song’. A sea of people jumped up and down to the opening chords of I’m full, showing they still had
energy fuelled for the encore.

After wishing the crowd good luck with their school and lives, they closed off the night with
their slower hit single ‘Are You Bored Yet?’ which explores the idea of being too complaisant
in a relationship and solidified the trio into the mainstream after the song gained popularity
on TikTok during the pandemic. The room relayed every single lyric and swung side to side
with their arms around their mates to the song’s sombre beat.
It is guaranteed that fans were leaving the academy the opposite of bored and in actuality
still craving more.

Check out our gallery below.

Set List

  • I Don’t Want to Talk
  • Remember When
  • These Days
  • Especially You
  • Pleaser
  • Treacherous Doctor
  • Missing Out
  • Quarterback
  • OK
  • Pictures of Girls
  • Wish Me Luck
  • 1980s Horror Film II
  • Hard to Believe
  • Only Friend
  • Marvellous
  • Just Like a Movie
  • Scrawny
  • Guitar Romantic Search Adventure

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Start typing and press Enter to search