Monday, 23 March 2015

Wolf Alice

Òran Mór, Glasgow - 23rd March 2015

I've been following the progress of North London ensemble Wolf Alice since the release of their self-titled EP in 2010. At that time they were a duet of Ellie Rowsell (vocals, guitar and keys) and Joff Oddie (guitar), and their musical style could best be described as folky-pop with promising tinges of rock. In 2012 Drummer Joel Amey and bassist Theo Ellis joined the band and they released the single Leaving You.

Ellie and her new shell-pink Fender Telecaster
The next couple of years saw the release of two EPs - Blush and Creature Songs, and the musical style was changing, definitely more hard edged rock, with little concession to their folky-pop roots. 

The band have been doing extensive touring in the US, but this was the kick-off gig for their UK tour, to promote their debut LP, My Love Is Cool (due to be released 22 June). The Òran Mór venue was sold out and the hype was massive. 

So it was with eager anticipation that I stood, watching the stage crew prepare everything for the band. The sight of the hefty roadie strapping on and tuning Ellie's brand new, lady-sized, pink Fender Telecaster was incongruous and raised a smile.

Finally, after some technical issues with a sound pedal, the band bounced onto stage. "Hello Glasgow!" Ellie shouted. The sardine-packed crowd raised the roof with noise.
"Hello Glasgow!"

Fluffy was their first song, and for a band that have yet to release their debut album, they played with the polish of a well-rehearsed headlining act, but with youthful enthusiasm and a serious amount of amplification! While Joey Amey and Theo Ellis provided bowel vibrating rhythm, guitarist Joff Oddie was given free reign to unleash some wonderful riffs and feedback filled sections.  Ellie Rowsell,  alternated between melodic crooning and powerful yelps and screams, provided rhythm guitar.

Storms and Your Love's Whore were similarly delivered, and the audience located centre-stage-front were in full flow, bouncing up to the low ceiling and surging toward the safety barrier. The sound was generally really good, if perhaps just a tad too loud at times. The over-amplification tended to remove the light and shade from some songs.

One of the highlights was Blush (from the EP of the same name), where the first few introductory bars of Ellie's guitar generated an audience singalong before the song had even started. Joff Oddie applauded the crowd. 

At one point, Joff, Ellie and Theo even did a bit of comic sychronised dancing, with guitars moving in time.

The closing songs You’re a Germ, Radio 1's recent track of the day Giant Peach, and the encore Moaning Lisa Smile sent the whole room dancing.
Ready to crowd surf?
Ellie Rowsell shouted out "This has been such a great start to the UK tour, thank you so much!" and they were finished - well almost finished, because bassist Theo Ellis, then unstrapped his guitar, leapt from the stage onto the barrier, and reverse-dived into the audience. He was carried by the crowd for some time at arms length, face-up, and finally deposited back over the barrier. 

Did they live up to the hype?  
You bet!

Setlist was 
(This is very roughly, cos I forgot to make notes): 

Your Love's Whore
Leaving You
90 Mile Beach
The Wonderwhy
You're A Germ
Giant Peach
White Leather
Moaning Lisa Smile

Support Acts were:


The Crows are a Rock/Punk style group from London. They provided a stonking set of frantic music, with heavy bass and drums, great guitar hooks and vocals delivered by James Cox.
Cox was a menacing figure on stage, and off stage (he occasionally ventured over the barrier into the crowd), combining the vocal styles of Ian Curtis and Johnny Rotten.
Highlights were Crawling and Pray. Listen here - Crows SoundCloud

The Magic Gang

The Magic Gang are from Brighton, and this was their first venture up to the frozen north. They looked like a preppy pop band, but delivered much more. 
The Magic Gang
With probably the clearest sound of the night, they delivered catchy guitar riffs, good vocals and harmonies, all driven by some excellent bass and drums. 
No Fun, Shallow and She Won't Ghost were highlights of an energetic and enjoyable set - they'll do well I think.
Listen to some tracks here - SoundCloud

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