After winning the award of Best Live Band 2016 by the NME, I was eager to find out if Wolf Alice’s sold out show at Rock City would justify the hype. Preparing myself by dabbing some glitter around my eyes, I ventured out to experience their shoegaze/indie-grunge album, My Love Is Cool.
Support act Bloody Knees gathered a small mosh pit, the band members throwing their long hair back and forth, but the majority of the crowd were standing, agonizingly waiting for the main attraction. Wolf Alice fans could be clearly identified, cheeks sparkling in the light with glitter and glued on sequin stars. To my delight, I managed to weave my way through the crowd and found myself pressed against the barrier. The band took to the stage, and the set was kicked off by ‘Your Loves Whore’.
Mosh pits were composed mainly of indie kids jumping around in groups with friends, hair styled into double buns – but I still caught a few middle aged men bellowing lyrics at the front. ‘You’re A Germ’ was met with excitement – fans screaming back the lyrics and wildly swaying together. With the crowd singing along to songs such as ‘Freazy’, with lights bathing the stage in a red hue, it affirmed the collective identity of the indie crowd with lyrics “you can join us if you think you’re wild”. The backdrop, adorned with the album cover of their debut album, occasionally had lights glittering like stars accompanying drummer Joel’s glittery gold drum kit.
Rays of light fanning across the stage calmed down the crowd, who became happily subdued accordingly to songs such as ‘Silk’ and ‘Swallowtail’. Even though guitarist Joff prompted the crowd by swaying his hands in the air, one could not help think it was unnecessary, with the audience adapting and being highly responsive to song changes, waving their arms along without prompting. ‘Silk’ sent the audience into a dream like state, encapsulated by undertone of sadness as a single spotlight focuses on Ellie as she evoked an emotional performance with her soft vocals. Dressed simply in an oversized white t-shirt dress, which sometimes Ellie balled up the hem of in her hands whilst singing ethereal songs such as ‘The Wonderwhy’.
“With lights bathing the stage in a red hue, it affirmed the collective identity of the indie crowd with lyrics ‘you can join us if you think you’re wild’…”
After ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ the band suddenly walk off stage to shouts of “One more song!” and “We want more!” ‘Turn to Dust’ was the first song to kick of the encore, evoking a floaty, dream-like vibe. Delicate vocal juxtaposed with the grunge, rock sounds of songs such as ‘Giant Peach’ which followed on from ‘Blush’. ‘Giant Peach’ allowed the crowd to have one last wild dance along to NME’s 2016 Best Track and Ellie and Theo’s synchronized side step routine. Theo was willing to interact with fans by screaming the lyrics directly into their cameras. At the end of the set, Ellie jumped down to greet a small section of the crowd while Joel walked the length of the barriers, high-fiving fans, including myself.
As I grabbed a Wolf Alice tour t-shirt and left surrounded by content fans, it’s evident that Wolf Alice have highly satisfied every crowd they’ve played for and are a band going from strength to strength.
Words and Image by Sarah Jenkins
Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham’s IMPACT Magazine.