Wolf Alice, James Bay and Little Simz also played the event
Years & Years and Wolf Alice headlined Vevo Halloween in Manchester last night (October 31) – with the former’s frontman, Olly Alexander, dressed as Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.
The event – which saw 5,000 revellers descend upon Victoria Warehouse in Trafford – also featured sets by James Bay, Nothing But Theives and Little Simz, alongside a ‘Scare Maze’.
At 11pm, Wolf Alice played a half-hour set that opened with ‘Your Love’s Whole’ – the first of seven tracks taken from their 2015 Mercury-nominated album ‘My Love Is Cool’ – and culminated with ‘Giant Peach’. Caked in zombie make-up, bassist Theo Ellis screamed “Happy Halloween!”, before the band – all fittingly clad as the undead – launched into ‘Freazy’, ‘Lisbon’, ‘Bros, and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’.
“Everyone still with us?” asked Ellis rhetorically, before Joel Amey’s drumming signaled the start of ‘Fluffy’, while ‘You’re A Germ’ incited a rapturous reaction among the costumed capacity crowd. Before finishing the brief set with ‘Giant Peach’, Ellis beamed “This is probably the best Halloween we’ve ever fucking had!”
Shortly after midnight, Years & Years took to the stage for a performance that began with ‘Desire’ and ended with ‘King’. Dressed as a zombie rendition of ‘Ginger Spice’ replete with a blood-soaked Union Jack dress and russet wig, mainman Olly Alexander initially faced a vocal hiccup on the first track that caused him to admit “I’m very drunk”. Accompanied by a cardboard cut-out of ‘Sporty’ Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm, Alexander joked: “I bet you didn’t know we were doing a reunion tonight but we are the Spice Girls and my dress is really short,” gesturing towards bassist Mikey Goldsworthy attired as Victoria Beckham and touring drummer Dylan Bell as Emma ‘Baby Spice’ Bunton.
Prior to second song ‘Take Shelter’ – from 2015 debut album ‘Communion’ – Alexander noted “I’ve found out I can still squat in heels”, before doing precisely that, while ‘Worship’ followed.
“A couple of days ago, Mel B was playing synths. This is all that’s left of her now,” said the 25-year-old frontman as he slung a leopardskin catsuit around his neck. ‘Shine’ and ‘Border’ were next, as he admitted “Wow, I’ve definitely done stuff on stage tonight that I will never live down.” Before the set was rounded off by penultimate number ‘Real’, the cardboard cutout of Mel C was tossed into the baying throng – who instantly torn it asunder – while introducing ‘King’, Alexander highlighted a doppelganger fan in the front row who’d dressed as his idol for the occasion (“It’s always been my dream to be a Halloween costume”).
Earlier in the evening at 8pm, James Bay and his band performed a half-hour set that opened with ‘Collide’ and included the top ten singles ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Hold Back The River’, while dressed as skeletons. Meanwhile, backed by only a turntabalist, fast-rising Islington rapper Little Simz initially faced a lukewarm audience response, re-starting her final song ‘Bars Simzson’, chastising the crowd.
“Tell me why no-one is moving,” demanded Simz, real name Simbi Ajikawo “Tell me – go on,” she continued. “ I did not come to Manchester for you lot to be standing there like that. Let me tell you a story: the last time I was in Manchester was this time last year and I played a 700-capacity room and there was seven people in there. And now a year later, I’m playing on this fucking stage to thousands of people so we’re going to do that again and I need everyone jumping ‘cause this is not a game. I’m 21-years-old. I’m living my fucking dream.”