Wolf Alice have had a crazy and popular start to 2015. They first played to a sell-out crowd in the O2 arena supporting Alt-J and then headed off with them on a European tour. They then popped over to America for a few shows and now they’re doing a headline UK tour playing more sold out shows all over the country. We headed over to The Institute to see what all the hype is about.
The energy in the crowd was already at a very high level when the support group The Magic Gang (9/10) got on stage. Their feel-good and easy listening songs went down extremely well and they definitely knew how to put on a show. At one point I even questioned as to whether people had come specifically to see them since the crowd was so responsive and sang along confidently to the lyrics. The band seem to have built up a good reputation with recent reviews from NME on their new single “No Fun” and they’re definitely worth looking out for.
30 minutes later the crowd were still pumped as they noisily welcomed the arrival of Wolf Alice (9/10) on stage. They instantly kicked into their first song “Fluffy” and despite a frail seeming girl, lead singer Ellie has an extremely strong presence on stage as she literally screams into the mic and jumps up and down along with the crowd. It’s probably also the most crowd-surfing I’ve ever seen at a gig too; there were always at least 2 people floating above the crowd throughout the entirety of the gig.
The show held a really well balanced mix of songs from their previous EP’s as well as a few new songs from the forthcoming album. But it was evident that the band already has some hard core fans based on the fact that they already knew the lyrics inside out to the new songs. The fantastic bass line and guitar riffs of “Your Love’s Whore” made it the highlight of the new songs and a great preview of what the album will have in store for us. “Soapy Water” was another new song mid-way through the set that brought the crowd to a standstill as both guitars were dropped and Ellie sang mic in her hand soulfully to the crowd.
The next 3 songs in the set just before the encore – “bros”, “blush” and their new single “Giant Peach” sum up the gig beautifully as they encompass everything you’d want to hear from any band. “Bros” goes down incredibly well live as it’s one of their more cheerful songs of the set. “Blush” is clearly a crowds favourite as the whole place sings back twice as loud to the unusual chorus lyrics “punch drunk, dumb struck, pot luck, happy happy”. You can see the band are overwhelmed by the response and clap the crowd as the song finished. “Birmingham, you’ve been amazing so far…must be something in the water” says Ellie before leading on to their new single “Giant Peach” which gets the heads bopping again and gives you one more reason to say that Wolf Alice is a seriously good band to see live.
Finally, when you thought it couldn’t get any better, they bring out “Moaning Lisa Smile” as their last song; the crowd goes crazy and there’s people everywhere trying to get their last chance to crowd surf. Wolf Alice dominating heavy tunes along with a few more calm songs makes a perfect environment for a fun gig and they definitely delivered this time.