Ally Pally is a tremendous venue to see your fave music muse and for last minute tickets and a ‘hangoveresque‘ tube journey to Wood Green to see them, Wolf Alice didn’t disappoint; although, a few more corkers added onto the sultry setlist would have made the notes tingle just that little bit more…
Wolf Alice first hit my ever listening ears when gracing the H&M sale. The single was Bros and immediately I was a number-one-fan. Why? Because the song always leaves me feeling moderately liberated and ready to seize the day. With the opening having the sound of a crisp guitar and a rhythmic strum that leaves you suspecting more, it’s understandable why this Wolf Alice masterpiece (2015, the demo was earlier and also just as incred) is loved by so many. This was adamantly clear during their explosive set within one of the big smoke’s most breathtaking venues (yep, I am including that view of the city you can get just outside Ally Pally where you can identify the Gherkin and The Shard whilst finishing off your Cider before going through security).
Before I shuttle into what was a fab set, may I just point out that if you are in London with a partner, friend or foe- for goodness sake don’t give one of you BOTH phones. This situation reared its ever so ugly head prior to the gig at the beauty that is Charing Cross. The tix were still at StubHub (legends) and one of us chose to leg it with 13 minutes to spare to pick them up. Now, when I say ‘leg it’ this involves running which is an activity I NO LONGER PARTICIPATE IN! So I ever so kindly handed my phone with maps prepared. Nonetheless, off ran my gorgeous stallion into the late night mist of London with my phone AND his. I didn’t know where StubHub was. I didn’t know where I was. To cut a long story short, a French couple, a TFL worker and two policemen later we reunited at Tottenham Court Road where it wasn’t quite the tight embrace that you imagine when both of you are lost to the city’s night- we had to get a few flurries of frustration and ‘WHY THE **** DID YOU DO THAT?’ to each other out the way first. Although… it was my fault. JUST STAY WHERE YOU ARE!
The set and all its glory!!!!
We were wrapping up getting v expensive beer and spirits just as the first loud hit of the electric guitar simmered through to our eager ears. Downed one, downed the other (wincing) and ran in ASAP. The bass notes were looming and enticing and the hum of lead singer, Ellie Rowsell, completely earnt the hearts of us all. Passion, love, indifference, and anger were the many different emotions the band addressed just with the first few numbers. A highlight personally is the coming together of vocals and harmony amidst ‘Silk‘ with the muffled ‘oooooh’s’ that layer under the chorus echo. The song rhythmically stomps and I bloody love it. I tilted my head back and embraced what the moment was (potentially pinched a nerve at the same time).
The song that captured both myself and the more handsome half was the complete corker of a tune- DON’T DELETE THE KISSES (2017 from visions of life)!!!! This song live is just everything and more. When Rowsell so effortlessly hit the ‘i’d like to get to know you…’ section post-chorus outburst, I just wanted to do the 80’s discreet shoulder swing from side to side (Mum, you know what I mean). Then, of course, the softest harmony in the chorus from Rowsell sent my many arm hairs into upright motion instantly. This song, live, empowers and opens up a sense of excitement, perhaps hope with its incredible combination of guitar, synthy/keyboard countermelodies (listening to the pedaling of the synth in certain parts will get you going) and the most awesome vocals I had heard in the flesh for a LOOOONG time.
I could go ON AND ON about each and every song but to round off my ultimate fan girl praise- Blush tingled my every nerve. The lights were blue and low, if there was an arm to be around the shoulders of another… they were there. The high register of that ever so gentle opening guitar riff, just 3 notes saying so much felt intense and wonderful. Rowsell then leads with vocals the wisp and cradle of each note. The male vocals come in and the song begins to grow- especially live. It hits. The lights flashed and I knew that I would not forget the set, the song and that very moment. I am always amazed, even as a musician myself, at how music can create so much feeling, memory, and power. It does. In this moment, because of the most beautiful guitar riffing and dreamy harmonies I felt as though EVERYTHING in life was just.right.
It is simple. Go and see Wolf Alice live, listen to their albums from the 1st to the most recent. I can’t sum them up in one sentence because their material is a vibrant whirlpool of soft, hard, stripped back and heavy. And yeah, that’s why I love them. Now I’ve seen the band live- I’m forever hooked.
Check Wolf Alice out: