Wolf Alice, O2 ABC - 19/9/2015

Tonight, Wolf Alice were big and bad and blew us all away. Not only did they smash their own powerful set, the band brought along two support acts – Buffalo based rockers Made Violent and brother-formed Drenge.

Despite the name, show openers Made Violent hosted an animated performance full of American enthusiasm that got the crowd ready for the evening ahead. Joseph White and his unmissable surfer curls dominated the stage while the rest of the band (guitarist Rob Romano and drummer Justin Acee) brought an open rawness that can only come from a true love for playing in front of a crowd. A highlight for the band was “Dirty” a good solid hair down, jump up and rock out song.

Along with touring member Rob Graham, the two Loveless brothers weren’t messing around and got straight into the show with a no nonsense start. Building up throughout the whole set, Drenge only got stronger feeding off the energy of the thirsty-for-more crowd. During latest song, “We Can Do What We Want” the band seemed almost possessed by their own performance. If it weren’t for the heavy and cutting riffs the boys were shredding, this could’ve been an intimate drug fuelled gig straight out of the 70’s. It was at this point that I got heavily involved in a mosh pit and lost track of what was happening. However, the liveliness within that small circle perfectly summed up Drenge’s set – humble yet vivacious.

For anyone who had never seen Wolf Alice play before, Ellie Rowsell toyed with their naivety. Reeling them in with a soft intro to “Your Loves Whore” before jumping straight into the rocky chorus without the blink of an eye. The band as a whole have a wonderful way of controlling the crowd but at the same time being one with them. At one point Theo Ellis, forgetting he was a bassist and not one of the fans below, even started off the crowd favourite “Ellie, Ellie f***ing Rowsell” chant. Mixing up between songs from new album “Love Is Cool” and previous EPs, Wolf Alice put on a set both as beautiful and vibrant as the glitter on their faces. Unsurprising when you consider how effortless each member makes playing his or her instrument look. I wouldn’t be shocked if you told me that these guy write their songs in their glittery dreams and wake up ready to rock. 

Not only are Wolf Alice a strong performer, they’re important in the UK’s current music scene – both in their striking and individual sound and as a marker for women in music. As Britain’s answer to Hole, Ellie Rowsell shows us that women have a place in any genre, can smash previous stereotypes and completely beast it.

Long live Wolf Alice.

Dani Hall

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