Wolf Alice continues to impress with an impeccable set of pure, unadulterated indie rock.
When a drove of The Edge’s finest headed to Southampton’s O2 Guildhall on Tuesday night, I’m sure we were all expecting a show that would display indie rock at its absolute peak, and unsurprisingly we were not disappointed. With adept support provided through the up-and-coming Superfood and Sunflower Bean, Wolf Alice had already treated the crowd to over an hour of quality live music before taking to the stage, engulfed in the anticipating uproar of the sold-out crowd. Somewhat unfortunately, it has fallen to me to attempt the impossible and accumulate a night of unrelenting passion and purely outstanding music into an article that can hopefully do it justice.
From the offset, it was clear to see from the first handful of songs of Wolf Alice’s set that even the excellence we had witnessed in the two support acts paled in comparison to the ever-heightening prowess of the night’s headliners. At one moment I was genuinely taken aback, struggling to comprehend the beauty of seeing ‘Silk’ and ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ performed back-to-back live whilst an overhanging glitter ball enshrouded the room in a dazing atmosphere of complete and utter joy.
As the four piece continued to rattle through the gig, it was inevitable that this was a night to live long in the memory. Combining songs from all areas of the band’s discography, including 2015 debut album My Love Is Cool and this year’s critically and commercially celebrated Visions Of A Life, the night was punctuated with hits such as ‘Bros’, ‘Yuk Foo’ and ‘Beautifully Unconventional’. Bassist Theo Ellis was, as expected, overtly animated, thrashing himself around the stage in order to maintain the high levels of energy from the crowd to great success. No clearer was this to see than during the rendition of ‘Space & Time’ when the crowd showed a surprising amount of patience as they opened up a monster of a mosh pit and restrained themselves until the hard-hitting final chorus before unleashing hell on each other.
Despite leaving much of the chit-chatting to Ellis, the hero of the night was undoubtedly the remarkable Ellie Rowsell. As well as being truly, truly amazing when it comes to captivating the audience with her haunting and, at times, operatic falsetto, she leads the way as an inspiration for women in music. The vocalist and guitarist is not only the frontwoman for the best female-led band in the UK, but she is the leader of the best indie rock band in the country, regardless of gender. Proving that they cannot just match the countless male-fronted bands that festivals are currently festooned with, but in fact surpass them in terms of musical talent and exceptional delivery on the live stage, Wolf Alice is currently the most convincing argument to support the fact that female-led bands are hugely underrepresented and undervalued in the world of music.
With Ellis telling the crowd that Southampton is guitarist Joff Oddie’s favourite place to play, Wolf Alice wrapped up their pre-compulsory-encore set just over an hour and a half after they first made their first way on to the stage. However, as a chorus of “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!” chants rang around the venue, the crowd was treated to another couple of songs, finishing, to the crowd’s evident pleasure, on the high of My Love Is Cool’s lead single ‘Giant Peach’.
Revealing in their set that the first time the band came to Southampton they played the intimate and comparatively diminutive venue of The Joiners, the fact that they sold out the Guildhall for the second time in their career is a testament to how far they have come over such a short space of time. This was undoubtedly the best gig I have been to this year, and I am certain that I am not the only one who is eagerly anticipating seeing them play again. Ultimately this was a flawless performance, saturated with ruthless power and full-frontal emotion. My love for this band knows no bounds, and the limit to where Wolf Alice’s success can rise to is equally non-existent.
Wolf Alice continue their tour, finishing on 24th November at London’s Alexandra Palace.