Live: Wolf Alice

Music Editor Connor McDonnell sweats it out with Wolf Alice at Newcastle's Students Union

29th September 2015

Supporting on the night were former brotherly duo along with their newly added bassist Drenge. Drenge have a history of political involvement. Back in 2013 Tom Watson told Ed Miliband that he should listen to Drenge in his resignation letter, which gained huge popularity. Their response to Watson’s name dropping was slightly on the negative side, saying they wished people found their music through legitimate means rather than a news story about a politician’s resignation. As the Loveless brothers and their bassist/ex-Wet Nuns man Robert Graham rolled on to the stage, Eoin was wearing what looked like a papier-mâché pig snout. I’m sure I heard a few subtle oinks in the middle of songs.

The camaraderie that the Loveless brothers share is admirable – throwing props at each other and sharing laughter on stage. They chewed up through their set as Eoin thrusts his body about and Rory tossed his hair back and forth while demolishing his drums. ‘Bloodsports’ from their eponymous debut received the greatest reception, while ‘Never Awake’ from this year’s Undertow is a furious ruffle and ‘Gun Crazy’ is a bouncing display of sludgy garage-rock. Seeing Drenge support Wolf Alice is a strange affair – either band could be the main show of the night.

Soaring through 2015, with their acclaimed debut album released, highly regarded as a competitor for the Mercury Prize, Wold Alice have a reputation to uphold. The band sway on to the stage with their faces decorated with golden glitter, before spearheading in to the opening bars of ‘Your Loves Whore’. Ellie Rowsell sustains breathy notes reminiscent of Kim Gordon’s vocals. It is a commonly used comparison, but Ellie embodies the same sort of virtuoso in front of an excitable crowd. These lulling intonations continue in the first section of ‘Freazy’, backed by Joff Oddie’s wonky guitar bends, before the band broke smiles from the mention of their name across two lines of lyrics: ‘Did you really wanna - with Alice?/Did you really wanna - with the wolf?’ Drummer Joel Amey cited this as one of his favourite songs of the band’s for this reason – a true display of his pride.

Joel opens ‘Swallowtail’, singing in marvellous falsetto. Trilling guitars strum grumbly behind his mellifluous vocals. The bulk of the set is from the new album, finishing on ‘You’re A Germ’, before returning for an encore by ‘Turn To Dust’, with swanky drum machine percussion. This is followed by a favoured heartbreak song ‘Blush’, with the crowd chanting back the rhythmic line ‘Punch drunk, dumb struck, pot luck happy happy’ back to the band. The band finish on ‘Giant Peach’, a screaming rive of bodies flying high on the wave of the crowd, and Ellie growling in the face of the front-rowers.

The buzz is long lived after the music stops - shot lungs and sweaty flesh swarm around the right of stage after the lights go up, to catch a glimpse of this year’s indie-rock superstars. But Wolf Alice are only beginning, and they obviously have a gargantuan amount to offer.

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