Riding a virtual tsunami of success off the back of debut album My Love is Cool, Wolf Alice took the stage in front of a fevered, sold out crowd at the O2 ABC. With dynamite sets at this year’s Glastonbury and Reading/Leeds festivals in their back pockets, as well as following a brilliant showing from main support act, Drenge, the North London four piece had a formidable task to meet expectations.
But they needn’t have worried. Blasting their way through album tracks ‘You’re Loves Whore’, ‘Freazy’ and ‘Bros’ the band, who seemed to be playing with a real joy, had the capacity crowd in the palm of their collective hand. However, with ‘Soapy Water’, they did seem to lose their way ever so slightly. Frontwoman, Ellie Rowsell, seemed a bit lost without her guitar and this track did seem to kill the mood.
However, with guitar back in situ, the cacophonous ‘Lisbon’ revived any flaggers and fully set the tone for the rest of the night. Followed by ‘Silk’ and the ominous hidden album track ‘The Wonderwhy’ the band seemed to go from strength to strength. They launched into a sensational version of ‘Storms’ from 2014’s Creature Songs EP, before bringing the mood down again with ‘Swallowtail’. With drummer, Joel Amey, taking over on lead vocal, it’s the one weak point on the album. However live, it’s another matter. Heartfelt, with a build up to a real wall of guitar, it was a real surprise highlight.
From there, they went to ‘Fluffy’ which was anything but, and a blistering version of ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’. It was during this that you could really see the real potential in this band. finishing the main set with ‘You’re a Germ’, which is maybe the best 3 minute pop song you’ll hear all year, the band exited stage-right knowing that they had exceeded the aforementioned expectations.
Returning to the stage, they launched into album opener, the atmospheric ‘Turn To Dust’. This was followed by ‘Blush’, from the EP of the same name. In a set full of high points, this was the highest. My overriding thought at the time was this song, this band wouldn’t be out-of-place headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. And looking back, my mind hasn’t changed. The set closed with ‘Giant Peach’ the lead single released this year from their debut album and with bass players crowd surfing, feedback, flying pints of lager and the whole of the ABC thinking that they’ve just seen a band that are going to be big. Very, very big.
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