Wolf Alice - Live Review
Wolf Alice have recently been clogging up listings at various awards shows; The Brits, The Grammys and the NME awards have all name checked Wolf Alice in their nominations for awards. On the back of the success of their revered debut album and those awards appearances, the band are embarking on a hefty UK tour with their Manchester date being one of the largest on the run. The Academy in Manchester had long been sold out for the gig and the tour will culminate in a four night stint in London at the end of March; many dates are already sold out.
Bloody Knees opened up proceedings for the evening. Their 'less is more' get up was reminiscent of Seattle circa 91 with the Nirvana influence rung through in the vocals and the adrenaline of the riffs charged in the spirit of the Foo's. Grunge never really had an aesthetic to adhere to so its hard to say bad things about a band just getting on stage and letting their influences run free. Nirvana they are not, but a great warm up slot for a crowd that were very much waiting for the main attractions.
Swim Deep's star is seemingly on the rise and the crowd were very much au fait with their space pop brilliance. From the opening chords of King City from their debut album Where The Heaven Are We, the crowd sung along. Austin Ozzy Williams exuberant manner as frontman is a seemingly lost art form, his energy feeds the crowd. His homage to Manchester was clear with his Liam Gallagher style stance and tambourine and more than a tinge of Bez whilst parading around with a pair of maracas.
With influences ranging from Inspiral Carpets, The Charlatans and Super Furry Animals all evident in their set, Swim Deep can appeal to quite a demographic. A US tour is on the horizon and it can't be to long before they are in the position of the nights main attraction.
London's Wolf Alice are on the up; their stock growing on the back of some incendiary festival shows at Glastonbury and Latitudes amongst others. Anticipation was high and the largely young crowd lapped up every note of the bands 70 minute show. As Love Will Tear Us Apart rung around the Academy, the atmosphere crept up a notch as the band took the stage with no pomp or circumstance. A quick introduction gave way to an explosive start in the form of Your Loves Whore and You're A Germ, both songs greeted with exultant screams from the crowd. With the tone set, every song was received in this way.
Ellie Rowsell cut an angelic figure on stage in a dazzling white dress and the same could be said of her vocals; veering from the angelic to the harsh. Fluffy showed both ends of the spectrum with the serene and dense guitars shown off in equal measure to match the screams and shrieks of Rowsell. Many other cuts from the excellent My Love Is Cool completed most of the set. Nods to the bands earlier EP's (Blush and Creature Songs) also added depth to the set with hghlights including the slow burning Silk, Swallowtail (sung by drummer Joel Amey) and a furious rendition of Fluffy. The Grammy nominated Moaning Lisa Smile ended the main portion of the set. The crowd, true to form, were electric and the assembled masses were left baying for more as the band exited.
A three song encore ensued with My Love Is Cool's pulsing opener, Turn To Dust, kicking things off. The more mellow and serene start was followed by Blush, from the aforementioned EP. This ramped things up gradually before a monstrously heavy Giant Peach rounded things off. Wolf Alice were nominated for Best Breakthrough Act at this years awful Brit Awards but this band don't need a statue to show that they've broken.
Their performance in Manchester was excellent and their graft and ability to create great rock music will only see them grow even more. If you are lucky enough to have a ticket for the tour, you're in for a treat. If you can lay your hands on one...do it!
Words: Dom Walsh / Photos: Cai Dixon