Last time Wolf Alice played in Manchester – only a couple of months prior – they were playing to a sold out crowd, admittedly inside a 600-capacity club space in the heart of the city centre. Nevertheless, this show was a rare sighting of the London four in intimate surroundings; small shows are increasingly becoming a thing of the past for Wolf Alice. Since dropping their well-received sophomore album, Visions Of A Life, at the tail end of 2017, the band have been fully consumed in tour mode. Trekking across continents and territories, their music has seen them travel further outside the confines of Blighty to reach millions of excited supporters abroad. Their music is like wildfire; once felt, the process can’t be undone. So arriving at this juncture where we see the young band joining rock stalwarts Foo Fighters for a slew of shows, it’s understandably a landmark moment in the band’s career to date.
Opening up for one of the biggest names in rock might be a challenge for some, for Wolf Alice it seemed remarkably straightforward. Their rumble stretches the whole of the stadium, encompassing the already bustling crowd’s growing energy the band kicks into grisly combo ‘Your Love’s Whore’ and ‘Yuk Foo.’ What’s great about Wolf Alice is their diversity in sound and composition, challenging convention and asserting their own individuality they move between heavy and soft, complex and immediate, saintly and visceral.
Take ‘You’re A Germ;’ a track that has many shades, from creeping drawl to teasing intensity to adrenaline-pumping release, it’s five minutes of pure topsy-turvy joy. A stand out in a set of numerous apexes. Turning down the volume and animosity, ‘Don’t Delete the Kisses’ breathes gentle energy into the set with a refreshing dreamgaze filter of synth allure and relaxed voice. Continuing the presentation of second album tracks, the funky rhythm section of ‘Beautifully Unconventional’ massages the pace before ‘Formidable Cool’ turns us back to thrasher territory with its thrilling, stony-eyed full pelt and wacky intonation.
More showings of singles and album tracks arrive soon after (‘Space & Time’ sounds genuinely stunning) until the emergence of ‘Fluffy’ cuts through our now sizzling earlobes and breaks the barriers. The band excel in playing fast and loud, so when it comes to songs like ‘Fluffy’ they’re in snug domain. They play it like an old pair of pajamas: the fit is comfortable, worn in almost, but there’s still room for new interpretation.
It is a feat for any band to play this size of major event space and succeed, stadiums are unforgiving for any artist unfulfilling of the title or platform. For an outfit like Wolf Alice to be given the slot is career-making in itself, to step on stage takes guts, stamina, and presence, all of which are traits that Wolf Alice possess in abundance. Only time will tell where they go next, but if we were to hazard a guess, the big leagues are calling.
Wolf Alice’s latest album ‘Visions Of A Life’ is out now via Dirty Hit – Stream/Purchase here.
Live photos courtesy of Jason Palmer (Flick of the Finger)