hmv.com reviews... Wolf Alice @ O2 Academy Bristol
After slaying the festivals Wolf Alice are in the middle of their biggest UK tour to date and we caught them live in Bristol...
London four-piece Wolf Alice. After making one of the debut albums of the year and a near certainty for a Mercury nod, they're now on their biggest UK tour to date.
At the Bristol Academy which is soaking wet outside due to the rain; but equally wet inside from the perspiration that is radiated from the crowd.
Any good supports?
We are treated to a headline worthy set to start with in the form of Drenge. Their sophomore album is one of the best of the year; building upon their strong set up and expanding it with the addition of Rob Graham on bass. It also adds another dynamic layer into their already powerful live show making them a better band than ever.
The choice of set list is also perfect; opening with the sinister 'Never Awake' the crowd set the bar high in terms of moving about. But as they rattle through older hits such as 'Face Life A Skull' and the wonderfully named 'I Want To Break You In Half' you see more and more flailing arms moving around in the front pit.
Drummer Rory Loveless introduces himself as 'Phil Collins', but it is unlike anything you would see at a concert from the former Genesis member. Things only 'slow-down' slightly for new track 'Side By Side' but at the same time it still packs a real gut punch. Closing with the fantastic 'Running Wild' the crowd are left with a real treat...and that was just the support act!
Was it full? And how were the crowd?
The venue is completely sold out and there isn't a space to be seen. The lucky 1,600 that are inside are treated to a fantastic show and respond in equal fashion.
So what was the set like? What did they play?
Things start off in a delicate fashion with bonus track on their album My Love Is Cool (which you can preview and purchase on the right-hand side of the page); really showcasing the impressive vocals of Ellie Rowsell. It's a change from their usual coming out of the blocks at 100mph set but works even better as it then leads into the sublime 'Your Love's' Whore'. The song really shows off how tight they have become as a band from years of constant touring and working hard. Their musicianship is a sound to behold as they somehow manage to make every verse more impactful than the previous.
This sound is also evident on Lisbon which culminates into a wall of noise that sends you chills; it is that impactful. Fan favourite 'Bros' is already one of the best songs of the year; just hearing it fills you with a sense of joy and playfulness, something that the crowd are really showing.
Tonight is also the first time that an audience are treated to the whole album in full, with songs like 'Silk' and 'Freazy' being debuted here tonight. Ellie states her anxiety before playing them, yet the band pull it off with aplomb. The end of the set is hit with a triple whammy of heavy hits with 'Fluffy', 'You're A Germ' and 'Moaning Lisa Smile' which send everyone into a frenzy before they head off for their encore.
'Turn To Dust' opens their return to stage before moving into a stunning version of their EP track 'Blush'. For once the crowd don't sing along in order to experience the intimate moment for what it is. Fans chanting for 'Giant Peach' are not left disappointed with the epic song closing in spectacular fashion to what has already been a set filled with many wow moments.
Any good between song banter?
There is the occasional shout of ''Bristol'' by bassist Theo Ellis, not banter exactly...
Did they put on much of a show?
They are throwing everything into to it; you can see the sweat dripping off of guitarist Joff Oddie's head in the light from the off. Bright flash lights illuminate the whole room during the show and for the quieter moments the backdrop is showered by glittering lights.
What was the highlight of the set?
In a set full of spine-tingling moments it was latest single 'You're A Germ' that drew one of the biggest responses of the night. You might be fooled into thinking that the opening chords are that of Foo Fighters' 'All My Life' but it transcends into a song with a beautiful mix of clean vocals and gnarly group chants
The quiet opening builds into a massive crescendo for every chorus. The shouts of '1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, you're going to heaven' are screamed by every audience member as they jump along. You can really feel the sound running through your body, it is that powerful.
Where can I catch them next?
The rest of the tour sees them visiting Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Southampton, Manchester as well as a sold out show at Brixton Academy. Tickets are very hard to come by at the moment; but if you're a fan of great British music and want to see two of the best bands touring at the moment, then you owe it to yourself to grab one!
Wolf Alice's debut album My Love Is Cool is out now.