Wolf Alice Live Review

By Jay Landman

Boasting a line-up that consisted of Superfood, Sunflower Bean and Wolf Alice, this sold out show was guaranteed to be memorable as, not only were Wolf Alice touring to support the release of their brilliant second album, but Superfood were fast getting back into the swing of gigging after returning to the live circuit – considering all three bands are more friends than just acquaintances, there was bound to be magic.

Wolf Alice are a band to not just merely listen to, but experience live

Admittedly there was a feeling of nostalgia, as the last time I saw Superfood and Wolf Alice on the same bill was on 15th May 2014 in the 250-capacity venue Bedford Esquires, with a line-up of Gengahr, Superfood and Wolf Alice; tickets were just £8. Having only stumbled across Wolf Alice two weeks prior via SoundCloud, this was a huge stroke of luck, and that first time I saw both bands live is unforgettable to this day. Fast forward three years, and turning eyes north towards Newcastle meant that seeing both Superfood and Wolf Alice sharing the stage again, albeit it in front of 2,000 people rather than 250, was a different, but equally as magical experience. With the success of both albums, as well as having several tours under their belt, resulted in a very confident Wolf Alice demonstrating their headline capabilities with the additional luxury of investments made to the live show, particularly in regard to their lighting which resulted in a mesmerising and atmospheric show throughout their set.

Considering all three bands are more friends than just acquaintances, there was bound to be magic

Wolf Alice launched their set with the first two tracks from their second album (“Visions Of A Life”) ‘Heavenward’ and ‘Yuk Foo’. This was executed well, reminding fans of the newly released material and balancing the softer, more ambient side against that of their more raucous side – within two songs both sides of the coin had been shown to maximum effect. Following this was the injection of first-album material, familiar to everyone in attendance and thus drawing enthusiastic responses from all. Much of the gig followed this pattern of meandering through both recent and older material and shaped the crowd’s reactions from song to song; from captivating light shows providing atmospheric visuals for the recent, ambient material through to frenzied crowds singing (and moshing) along to the fast numbers such as ‘Giant Peach’.

It felt more like a religious experience than simply a live performance

Wolf Alice are a band to not just merely listen to, but experience live. What enhances their live shows, for myself at least, is having watched them from their early days, through to the present feels as if one has had the privilege of watching their development as a band. There were a few songs I had hoped to be included in the set, such as ‘She’ which, if truth be told, is the very first song I heard and, consequently, really took hold of me and has held me captive since. On the other hand, ‘Blush’ was included in the encore and was truly mesmerising; Ellie held 2,000 people’s hearts and minds with her lyrics and vocal melodies throughout and it felt more like a religious experience than simply a live performance of a song and reminded me of a cover song they often included in their sets when first touring- ‘Wicked Game’ by ‘Chris Isaak, of which, that live version back in 2014 is, to this day, the best rendition I’ve heard. If Wolf Alice continue the trajectory they’re on then we’re all in for one hell of a ride.

Setlist:

  1. Heavenward
  2. Yuk Foo
  3. You’re A Germ
  4. Your Loves Whore
  5. Purple & Green
  6. Don’t Delete The Kisses
  7. Bros
  8. Silk
  9. Lisbon
  10. Formidable Cool
  11. Planet Hunter
  12. Beautifully Unconventional
  13. Sadboy
  14. Space & Time
  15. Moaning Lisa Smile
  16. Visions Of A Life
  17. Fluffy

Encore

  1. Blush
  2. Giant Peach

Image: Jay Landman

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