Everyone needs something new and exciting in their life once in a while. The most new and exciting act in music this year has undoubtedly been Wolf Alice. They took their time to create an exemplary debut which is proving to be one of the finest albums of the year. It’s incredibly diverse and well crafted, and having wowed crowds at Glastonbury and Reading they’re also one of the top live acts in the country. So naturally it was worth the journey to go and see them up close and personal.
Drenge were up first as the support act, promoting their latest album ‘Undertow’ which was released earlier in the year. Sadly the band weren’t quite up to scratch live. The subtle sinister undertones that made the album capture my attention were noticeably absent and the vocals were lost in the mix. What you were left with was in-your-face punk which, although it certainly got a fair few in the crowd moving, is not the band at their best. Album highlight ‘The Woods’ was also missing from the performance, which I thought especially odd as the venue was completely covered in posters advertising it as their latest single.
By contrast everything fell perfectly into place for the main attraction. Wolf Alice ploughed through the highlights of their stunning debut. They are masters of light and shade, yin and yang. They mesmerised with mellow, otherworldly shoegaze on tracks like ‘Silk’ and ‘Swallowtail’, with the latter featuring birthday boy drummer Joel Amey on vocals. Things could quickly turn vicious though with grungey tracks like ‘You’re a Germ’ and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Frontwoman Ellie Rowsell was part saint, part psycho and her captivating charisma meant she was the centre of our small hectic world.
Concluding with a small stage dive from bassist Theo Ellis, the night drew to close. Their energy was boundless, their scope without end, and the performance was flawless. My only criticism is that I would have liked the band to have been a bit more engaging in between songs. As much as we are all there for the music, it’s nice to have a bit of banter with the band to make the concert feel special rather than just another stop on a tour. Besides that my only regret is that I didn’t follow the example of the band and half the audience and give my face a splash of gold body glitter. Maybe next time!