From opener ‘Heavenward’, Wolf Alice had the crowd at O2 Academy in the palm of their hands. The crowd-surfing and moshing had already begun by second song ‘Yuk Foo’, setting the tone for the rest of the night.
— Wolf Alice (@wolfalicemusic) November 18, 2017
Over the course of 90 minutes Wolf Alice took us on a rollercoaster that fluctuated between calm, ethereal lows and grungy, feral highs. Here is where the band’s strength lie; in their ability to be both soft and ferocious, serene and grunge. Frontwoman Ellie Rowsell remains the epitome of cool-girl moody, with her vocals soaring between talk-singing, to ethereal harmonies, to ferociously powerful note-holding. This is all whilst effortlessly playing guitar, a talent which was perfectly exemplified in the vocal acrobatics of ‘Formidable Cool’. Her fellow bandmates Theo, Joel and Joffy injected an element of craziness with their energy.
Whilst the set list was exhaustive in showcasing the breadth and talent across their two albums, it did feel like the newer ‘hits’ were all pushed to the front. ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’ is a sublime track from their most recent album, and the live version did not let us down. As the audience were submerged in blue light bouncing off a silver disco ball and the opening chords began echoing through the Academy, there was an almost automatic response from the crowd to whip out their smartphones and record the moment. But given the heartfelt poignancy of the lyrics, I did wonder if it would have been better placed towards the end of the gig to give the song the sense of intimacy and euphoria it deserves.
Nonetheless ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’ was followed by a mass singalong to ‘Bros’, the steady pacing of ‘Visions of a Life’ with its slower, richer sound, whilst the crowd were bathed in a sea of green light and smoke, finally followed by an explosive finale ‘Fluffy’.
Overall, Wolf Alice put on a fantastic show and I look forward to what else they have instore for #luckyluckyleeds and their Jeremy Corbyn chants in the future.