If Wolf Alice arrived a long time ago, then tonight (November 24) essentially serves as their coronation into the elite. Alexandra Palace is packed with 10,000 people ready to watch them make that step up, and they’re not left disappointed.
How could they be? In second album ‘Visions Of A Life‘, the band created a masterpiece that moved their sound to ambitious new territory. On record, it is invigorating and exhilarating; live, even more so – an amped up, snarling foray that shuttles effortlessly from searing atmospherics to raging riffs, as with opening one-two ‘Heavenwards’ and ‘Yuk Foo’.
Older songs like ‘You’re A Germ’ and ‘Your Love’s Whore’ bristle with a renewed energy nestled between these fresher cuts. The band have spoken in interviews about how they felt they had limited themselves on debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’, at that time not having enough confidence to really see their ideas through as far as they might have wanted. With that in mind, you might expect songs from that era to pale in comparison to those on ‘Visions…’, but they don’t. Instead they act as grounding points, simpler moments that anchor the set after the grand sonic expeditions of the likes of ‘Planet Hunter’ and ‘St. Purple & Green’.
For ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’, the band invite a 15-year-old fan called Jade to join them on stage to play Ellie’s guitar parts. She nails it, making playing to a 10,000-strong crowd look like the easiest thing in the world. It’s also a sweet nod of recognition from the group to their fans; a gesture that brings the people who have got Wolf Alice to this point in their existence closer to the action.
“This is mental,” Ellie says ahead of the strutting ‘Beautifully Unconventional’. While there’s no doubting tonight is extremely special and a very big moment for the band, the fact Wolf Alice are playing such a huge, sold out show is less mental and more a long time coming. They’ve always shown signs of greatness, ones that have grown from tiny flickers to the full on blaze they display tonight. The really exciting thing? They’re not anywhere near done yet. Buckle up.