If there’s a stage big enough to hold the charisma of HEARTWATCH lead vocalist Claire George, she hasn’t found it yet. Her booming vocals made quick work of The Independent during the band’s headlining set on Wednesday night, an evening that also served as a record release party for the band’s new, self-titled album. HEARTWATCH does pop rock right, crafting danceable up-tempo melodies that span in influence from ’70s AM radio to the more modern-day shimmer of their single “Faultlines”. At the center of the proceedings is George, who boasts an infectious stage presence and a genuine delight that carries through in her vocals.
Not even a name change can slow HEARTWATCH down. The group was formally known as The Tropics until a dispute with a similarly titled English outfit inspired the band to adopt a new moniker ahead of an appearance at last year’s Outside Lands Festival. There’s something refreshing about seeing an act that seems truly in awe of the fans that gather to see them. Several times during the course of their set, George stopped to thank the crowd for coming out on a Wednesday and for sticking around despite HEARTWATCH’s headlining slot starting after 11 p.m – a common occurrence for Noise Pop’s stacked schedule.
The band’s career is still young, but already they’ve found their following. Many members of the audience could be seen mouthing the words to their favorite songs as George prowled the stage. Read any interview with HEARTWATCH, and the phrase “energy” is bound to turn up. It’s a driving source of their songwriting process and an embodiment of their live show. It’s also why soon George won’t need to be surprised when a full crowd is waiting for them to take the stage, even on a Wednesday, even after 11 p.m. –Zack Ruskin