LIVE: Wolf Alice The Forum, London

Wolf Alice were a band seemingly on every Music Writer’s, Label and A&R Person’s radar since 2012. From the very beginning this London four piece were touted as a future Great British Rock Band and all the components were there to justify the hype. A great look, fantastic songs and a brooding, yet charismatic frontwoman in Ellie Roswell that could scare and seduce in equal measure.

Their highly anticipated debut album My Love is Cool was not released until 2015, as the band wisely took their time to hone their song writing abilities and define their sound. The result was huge critical acclaim, multiple award nominations and a record that found an audience that was perhaps even more wide-ranging and broader in scope than first envisaged. The mainstream appeal of singles such as Bros and You’re a Germ achieved the oft very difficult task of feeling equally at home on the Radio1 Breakfast Show as they did on the more alternative radio stations.

The evidence of this broad appeal was clear to see in the audience of the Kentish Town Forum, on this, the bands fourth and final night of their short residency. Here gathered a diverse and varied mix of music fan, as mid-40’s, ex-Britpop lovers of Sleeper and Garbage sipped bottles of water alongside young teenyboppers enjoying their first taste of illicit (and incredibly overpriced) Somerby cider.

And yet, from the very first note of opener You’re Loves Whore the band had their eclectic audience clasped firmly by the balls. This was a road hardened, consummate and confident four piece, fully hitting their stride and tearing through their set with an enthusiasm and a swagger that belongs firmly in Rock Music’s big leagues. Grunge soaked, rock monsters such as Fluffy and She sit effortlessly alongside the more melodic and bubbly Bros and Lisbon. There is no dip in energy, no lull in the action, as the set, much like the standing audience surges and throbs with an unmistakable fervour. 

Heavy, dark and brooding one minute, melancholy and heartfelt the next, singer Ellie Roswell possesses a voice of both vulnerable beauty and violent rage and it is during the more haunting and bittersweet numbers 90 Mile Beach, Silk and Blush, that Wolf Alice’s song writing ability and arena headlining potential really come to the fore. These are superbly crafted songs, full of raw emotion and a very genuine passion that could shift Wolf Alice from a band not just destined for success but to a band capable of greatness. By the time of the night’s closer, the brilliant Giant Peach, confetti rained down on the audience as Ellie swung her little cousin around in her arms, who had joined the band on stage as a dancing substitute for bassist Theo, sadly absent with an arm injury.

It was long before clear that this was more than just another show, this was a celebration. A celebration of fulfilled potential, a celebration of a band, always expected to achieve success, more than living up to those expectations and most probably exceeding them, all with the thrilling promise of more to come. Their potential is seemingly endless and they will head into the festival season as one of the more exciting and must-see British bands of the moment.

It may have been a slightly longer journey to get here than expected but Wolf Alice have now well and truly arrived. With Kentish Town conquered it’s onto America and then the world…

 

Gregory Cox

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