On the 22nd March 2016, Wolf Alice played The Brighton Dome as part of their 2016 UK tour, ahead of four sold out nights at the O2 Kentish Town Forum. They were supported by Bloody Knees and their long time friends Swim Deep (it was James Balmont’s birthday too, so the crowd joined in for a sing along for the occasion).
After the release of their stunning, UK number two, mercury prize nominated debut album, “My Love Is Cool”, last year they have toured, globally, pretty much constantly since with a string of festival and concert dates worldwide. I saw the band play at Reading Festival last year (twice to be exact) without being able to fully appreciate them as I didn’t know a lot of their songs. Since then I’ve become obsessed with their music and it’s diversity, so this concert was pretty special. Their album made it to number two on my top five albums of 2015 list and I had hoped to see them live this year.
Wolf Alice are a band destined to headline arenas and festivals globally and it’s so exciting to see them not only conquer but destroy stages and effortlessly win over crowds. Rowsell’s incredible vocals intertwined with skilled instrument playing creates this performance of polished perfection. There’s no gimmicks or frills, nor is there overly fussy production or pretentious band members – just simply great music. This is undoubtably what makes Wolf Alice one of a kind.
They opened with “Your Loves Whore”, from their debut album, before playing a string of hits. Each band member clad in black- bar Theo’s (bassist) garish white trousers- and stood before a simple backdrop of their album cover which twinkled in yellow lights occasionally in sympathy, yet not distractingly, with the music.
The set exemplified Ellie Rowsell’s (lead singer) complex vocal range with the diversity of songs, from the sweet lyrics of “Bros” to the angsty “Fluffy”. They played other songs from their debut album, such as “Silk”, “The Wonderwhy” and “You’re a Germ”, which the audience knew and sang along with. Their stage presence was captivating. These songs were seamlessly intertwined with songs from previous EPs, such as “She” and “Storms” (as well as GRAMMY NOMINATED “Moaning Lisa Smile”), which could be enjoyed by all. “Swallowtail” saw the male vocals of drummer Joel Amey sing melancholic lyrics and break up the set. This was refreshing. They played a three song encore of “Turn To Dust”, “Blush” and “Giant Peach”. “Giant Peach” included synchronised swaying and guitar playing by Ellie and Theo (which I remember seeing at Reading and thinking how cool it was). Each song executed perfectly.
Wolf Alice are an impeccable live band with sets of pure beauty. There was something so intimate about the gig which made it special and admirable. They’re one of the greatest live bands that I’ve seen in a long time as they have something more than the obvious qualities of a great band. Their stage presence isn’t fussy, but it’s fascinating and left me totally enthralled by it all. They’re obvious headliners of the future across all manner of festivals and arena. If you’re going to fall in love with a band, fall for Wolf Alice. They’ve just got that something (and I can’t quite put my finger on it).