I’ve followed this band since 2013 when they supported Swim Deep at the Rescue Rooms. I was instantly impressed, and I’ve seen them in support of other bands and at festivals since. But this was my first time seeing them step out on top of the bill.
Date: November 15, 2017
Venue: Rock City
Wolf Alice have, as a whole, transformed as a band. But in leading lady Ellie Rowsell, hers is not so much a transformation but a metamorphosis. From the timid, butter-wouldn’t-melt, ever-so-slightly posh girl next door figure from the days before they’d even released an album, to the headband and bun combination hairdo-wearing, elegant-yet-vampish tight black attire-rocking sexy rock ‘n’ roll Taylor Swift-esque goddess that stands before us now, having just released sophomore album Visions of a Life, she’s almost an entirely different woman.
The band have always dabbled with a grittier, snarling attitude, but at times, it felt a little hard-pushed, and jarred with their dreamy grunge-pop. But now, with ‘New Woman’ Ellie howling, spitting and being quite frankly appalling on Yuk Foo – their potty-mouthed two-fingered salute to anyone who dares look them in the eye – they have established themselves as a rare breed: a guitar band that has something to say. It’s rock n roll in its most grottiest of incarnations.
Equally biting is You’re A Germ, a song which chugs away happily before releasing Ellie’s barking vocals once again, and this sold-out crowd are already frothing with sweat and saliva.
But these days they juxtapose bile with tenderness seamlessly. Songs such as Don’t Delete The Kisses and the wonderful, if short, Beautifully Unconventional, are astounding. The former sees Ellie build her echoic vocals into a lovelorn chorus yelp, while the latter has Ellie’s words dancing around the song’s snaky bassline.
Moaning Lisa Smile is a nasty, grungy epic with a simplistic “arrghh-arrrghh-arrghhh” chorus; Bros and Fluffy return them to that dreamy grunge-pop era, Blush is like London Grammar re-wired and Giant Peach ends the set in filthy climactic fashion, its heavy riff finale a real headbanging highlight.
It’s difficult to condense their 19-song set into so few words whilst doing them justice. So let’s just say they are, indeed, beautifully unconventional.