It’s been a minute since I’ve been to a really sweaty, moshy gig. I hadn’t realised how much I missed it until Wednesday night.
Support act Superfood kicked off what was to be a truly memorable night at Bristol’s O2 academy with a set that, without wanting to sound too cringingly British, I can only describe as bloody good fun. The Birmingham two piece are reminiscent of bands like Sticky Fingers but with a funkier, more playful attitude. They themselves appeared to be enjoying their set which is one of my favourite things to see in a live performance – it definitely rubs off on an audience. There were a few fans dotted amongst the crowd and the rest of us happily bopped along to songs about games of Doubledutch (Hopscotch, as I know it) on the pavement with your friends and always being hungry. Their second studio album Bambino is out now – true feel good music.
the risk of having your internal organs crushed became very real
Following Superfood was New York rock band Sunflower Bean. Reminding me of bands like Hop Along and Tired Lion – female-fronted with a punk attitude and gorgeous guitars – I instantly loved them. Bassist and lead singer Julia Cumming is the star of the show with a shock of bleached-white hair and a truly impressive set of pipes, she was captivating. The band punched through tracks from their debut album Human Ceremony whilst the crowd lapped it up, getting increasingly eager for the main act.
Within about 10 seconds of Wolf Alice emerging on stage mosh pits had opened up and the risk of having your internal organs crushed became very real; a somewhat odd occurrence (although completely expected) as their first track was the atmospheric and sad ‘Heavenward’, a hauntingly beautiful song about the death of a new-born baby. This was quickly followed by one of my favourite songs from the new album Visions of A life, the no-fucks-given ‘Yuk Foo’. One thing I will say; fucking hell can Ellie Rowsell scream. She was screaming at us, we were screaming at her, “you bore me to death, well deplore me, I don’t give a shit!” It was beautiful.
Energy levels in the room were at a consistent maximum throughout. The band predominantly played tracks from their latest album, but kept in a few fan-favourites, so whether we were jumping along to the ethereal ‘Sad Boy’, head-banging to ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ or swaying in a sea of phone-lights to the shimmering, devastating ‘Blush’, they were giving us what we wanted. The crowd were committed to enjoying the music, which is what truly makes a gig for me.
Wolf Alice have a somewhat aloof on-stage attitude, Ellie with her intense, disinterested eyes and bassist Theo who is maybe one of the coolest people I’ve ever seen in real life, but somehow that energy has a hypnotic effect on their audience; we were completely at their mercy. What I love about Wolf Alice is the constant ebb and flow of their music. Unafraid to play with sudden moments of calm amongst prolonged periods of intensity, both from track-to-track on their album as well as within a single song. Listening to Visions of a Life for the first time was so rewarding because you never knew what was coming next; a bit like life itself. Turns out, this translates perfectly to a live show.
Wolf Alice are so versatile and such a great live act
My personal highlights of the gig included single ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ which provided the cathartic opportunity for everyone in the audience to scream the lyrics “WHAT IF IT’S NOT MEANT FOR ME, LOVE?” It was shortly after this that the friend I was with vanished from my side as a mosher had grabbed her backpack in an instinctive attempt to save themselves from the floor of the venue, causing my friend to go flying. It was several songs later that we were reunited about 10 feet from where we started. ‘Space and Time’ is a perfect example of the aforementioned variety in Wolf Alice’s sound, facilitating fist bumping, jumping and embarrassingly bad vocal attempts from me. And of course, ‘Bros’ – a song that, to me, will never get old, and neither will jumping around to it with your best friend and hundreds of other best friends.
Wolf Alice are so versatile and such a great live act. I left the venue incredibly sweaty, satisfied and surprisingly rejuvenated. This was the second time I’ve seen them and I cannot wait for the third.