UNDENIABLY marking their footprint in 2015 following the release of their debut album, ‘My Love is Cool’ last June, Wolf Alice made a return visit to Manchester Academy March 11. I was there to review the evening…
The North-London four-piece, who became the four-piece outfit in 2012, arguably rose to fame in 2015 after performing countless gigs in small venues through out the years. Today, it’s fair to say that the band, fronted by Ellie Rowsell, is one of the most successful new alternative bands in Britain today. After this evenings set, it’s no surprise why the band won NME’s best live band award this year.
Support bands for the evening included Bloody Knees and Swim Deep. After Bloody Knees had been the first act to perform on the night, Swim Deep took to the stage. Filling their set with songs off both their old and new album, this set was centred more around their current album, ‘Mothers’. In comparison to their first album, ‘Where The Heaven Are We’, the band’s second album is brimming with futuristic and experimental music, with feelings similar to that of falling through a black hole in space and ending up hundreds of years in the future. However, the band still played the dreamy, indie classics off their first album- ‘King City’ and the so-called love song, ‘She Changes the Weather,’ transporting their set back to the current era.
The Birmingham band knew how to work the crowd, and it was great that some of the fans of the band were there to see their set. The band has definitely grown over the past few years, and it’s brilliant that they have tweaked their style and sound- with great confidence in doing so.
After a short while, the lights then dimmed whilst Wolf Alice were welcomed onto the stage, before proceeding to play their intro. From the beginning of the set, the four-piece were musically on point- with no visible mistakes from start to finish. It was obvious from their stage presence that the band just seemed to gel really well with each other, which is most probably the reason for how refined and perfect their songs appear and are executed on stage.
After the intro, the band proceeded to play a string of their most popular upbeat tracks, covering the favourites, ‘Your Loves Whore,’ ‘Freazy’ and ‘You’re a Germ,’ with ‘You’re a Germ’ building up a huge soar of energy before erupting into the chorus, filling the room with enough energy to blow the roof off the Manchester Academy. They then continued to play the heartfelt, yet still extremely energetic track, ‘Bros,’ about love and friendship, which was lovely to see the crowd interacting with each other during the particular lyric, ‘You’re my best friend.’
Up until this point, the band had managed to turn the audience into a hot and happy sweaty mess, with fans grinning at each other whilst belting out the band’s songs alongside Ellie Roswell’s vocals at the top of their lungs.
The extraordinary dynamic of the band came to light at this point in the set, with the band then playing a string of songs of a more mellow tone, next up playing the beautiful track, ‘Lisbon.’ Injected with spirit, this song is the type you would imagine to be coated with copious amounts of glitter.
Following ‘Lisbon’ was ’90 Mile Beach,’ which was filled with lots of ambient guitar, before another mellow track, ‘Silk’ was up on the bill. Even at this point in the set, the band had given such an impressive performance with no faults and effortless talent equally spread across Joel (drums), Joff (guitar), Theo (bass) and Ellie (guitar and vocals).
The track ‘The Wonderwhy’ was then played next, before the end of the band’s relatively mellow part of the set came to end. ‘Storms’ then played next, which is one of my personal favourites of the album. The song appeared on the band’s EP, ‘Creature Songs’ before appearing on their debut album. The name of the song is extremely fitting to the track, with the verse demonstrating the brewing of a storm, before the storm hitting the audience for the chorus.
‘Swallowtail’ then played next, which is a superbly dynamic track, starting off slow and then bursting into a past pace and upbeat track. The band really gave no time for the audience to stand still at any point in the set, which was great in order to see the energy and happiness still radiating around the room.
There really was no dull moment in the set, and the band then finished off with three refined and heavier tracks, ‘Fluffy,’ ‘She’ and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile,’ leaving the audience only eager for the band to showcase even more of their amazing talent.
Returning with an encore, Wolf Alice proceeded to play ‘Turn to Dust,’ providing an eery and ambient atmosphere. They then played ‘Blush’- with the audience singing the along to the slower track, displaying an almost emotional atmosphere turning the crowd into a choir.
With one song left to play, the audience were fully aware of what was next. Arguably one of the band’s heavier songs- ‘Giant Peach’, the crowd went absolutely crazy for the track, whilst Ellie and Theo synchronised side-stepped.
The build up in the song opened up the largest mosh pit of the evening, with what appeared to be the front half of the crowd all erupting into craziness- getting fully involved within the track.
This was a perfect ending to the evening, with a brilliantly chosen setlist throughout. The band proved during their gig that they are amazingly talented and will deliver a faultless performance every time, filling their set with dynamic tracks, energy and endless talent.