Despite having heard the name Wolf Alice from friends and distinguished publications, it wasn’t until I saw a YouTube clip of the four-piece perform an acoustic version of Fluffy at Latitude Festival that I started paying attention.
The tone of lead singer Ellie’s voice and the use of overlapping vocals on the words ‘so sweet’ had a certain quality that reminded me of Sonic Youth or Patti Smith. Now don’t get me wrong, I know some of you might be put off by the use of the comparison to Sonic Youth, as this has been used on a lot of buzz bands in the past, but this is not just another buzz band.
Considering Wolf Alice are yet to release their debut album (due to drop in June this year), selling out the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire is nothing to be sniffed at. Walking past the doors at 18:30 on the way to meet a friend at the pub, I was pleased to see an already full pavement of young fans, all eager to get to the front (those were the days…). This pleased me as support for the evening was strong in the form of Bloody Knees and The Magic Gang, two great upcoming bands who deserve a crowd to play to.
Hailing from Cambridge, Bloody Knees are the UK’s answer to the Run For Cover Records back catalogue – a pretty great label hailing from across the pond in Boston, Massachusetts. Fans of Title Fight and Daylight could easily get involved with the melodic pop-punk these guys play. The energy from stage poured into the crowd and got the night off to a good start.
The night then took a cute turn as The Magic Gang took to the stage. The boys create infectious indie rock that made for an incredibly enjoyable half an hour for any Weezer fans in the audience. As someone who had never heard them before, I was pleasantly surprised to find a smile glued to my face and a familiar, although unknown, tune stuck in my head post-set. Hearing their song Happy Birthday was the point of no return for me, I was now an invested fan ready spread the word of how good these guys really are, which was cemented by their latest releases Alright and No Fun. So consider this my word spread – check this band out.
Cue the headliners. With a flash of strobe lighting and a crash of sound, the previously mentioned Fluffy hit the ear drums in all its glory through turned up amps; a perfect anthem to get any crowd moving. The next 45 minutes acted as a showcase for the upcoming album and didn’t disappoint, with a mix of one-moment-angelic-the-next-ferocious vocals, crunching guitar sounds, driving bass lines and ‘I like to play’ drum beats (any Wayne’s World fans out there?), you couldn’t help but get excited for the album.
When the single Giant Peach hit, a pulsating track full of heavy riffs and noggin-nodding moments, the crowd morphed into a sea of bouncing bodies and flailing arms. Watching from the safety of the balcony, I couldn’t help but appreciate the impact this band were having on a new generation of indie rock. With a few oldies thrown in for good measure, tonight confirmed that Wolf Alice are here to stay.