Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice


Walking into the Manchester Academy I’m pleasantly surprised with how small and intimate the venue is; it’s large enough to feel like a big crowd is present (which there most definitely is) and yet small enough to feel like it’s a private party.

Sneaking a quick look at the band merch I’m in two minds about grabbing a band tee as most of the shirts on sale are from the previous tour, but there is one new shirt in particular which has taken my fancy and I’ve now ear-marked it for purchase after the show.

Heading into the crowd for the first support act Bloody Knees. I’m a little apprehensive, I haven’t listened to anything produced by this particular band beforehand. While they’re not exactly my cup of tea as they’re a little bit heavier than I was anticipating, the stage presence and dedication to performing is as clear as day. Frontman Bradley Griffiths is obviously feeding from the energy given off by the crowd who are moshing and jumping to his powerful vocals. His luscious hair has taken on a life of its own during this set. His head-banging and whipping is beautifully mesmerising (guys with long hair can head-bang like angels). After playing a couple of relatively heavy songs they play a slower one which is slightly more appealing to those of us in the crowd who don’t specifically love the head rattling tracks. ‘Daydream’ is more rock than heavy duty, and it is again fuelled by strong and carefully crafted vocals. The mellowed melody makes it an interesting listen; whilst it still has elements from their other work, this track is therapeutic and almost relaxing. Bloody Knees are finishing their set a little early and then they proceed to meet their recently converted fans at the merch stand for the rest of the night, which is a nice touch.

With the early finish from Bloody Knees, the crowd is eagerly waiting for the arrival of Swim Deep. The second support act is practically dancing onto the stage amid the screams and squeals of fangirls and fanboys alike. Austin Williams quite literally knocks my socks off. His energy and high passion is overflowing and spilling all over the crowd. Sharing tracks from both of their albums. ‘Namaste’ isn’t exactly what you’d expect. While it is kind of OTT, during the middle section everything dulled and entered an almost dream-like state which offers a slight reprise (and a chance to clear my throat) and then it’s back at it with an ear-piercing howl from Williams which decimates any illusion of calm.

Swim Deep

Swim Deep

They close out their set with ‘Fueiho Boogie’ a psychedelic eight minute freak-out which is riding on the back of acid house fuelled passion and energy. It is utterly weird and wonderful and by far the absolute weirdest song I have had the pleasure of seeing performed live; it is mind-altering and trance-like. Swim Deep’s second album Mothers is completely different to the first, and ‘Fueiho Boogie’ is something quite unique, I’d imagine it would be a surreal experience if you were of the drug-taking persuasion (some of the crowd from last night obviously were, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy this track in particular). Finishing up and gracefully bowing out for the night, the crowd were filled with a longing for more. It’s one of the worst comedowns from a support act I’ve experienced at a gig; everyone around me is just screaming for more and getting nothing in response.

Wolf Alice are taking their sweet-time getting on stage, but as soon as the lights go down to signal their arrival and the crowd goes suitably nuts. As soon as the band walks out, led by Ellie Rowsell, closely followed by Joff Oddie, Theo Ellis and Joel Amey, the screams dull. The crowd waits with somewhat baited breath and then they thunder into their set and when ‘You’re A Germ’ rocks around the Academy all hell breaks loose. Nineties grunge, beautifully big drums and guitars kick into action, rock at its absolute finest. “Where’s Mum and Dad so you can tell them/You’re a dodgy fucker as well” is screamed like an anthem.

‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ is the final song before the encore. It screams with pop appeal and doesn’t lose its soft guitar roots. The opening is truly beautiful, the subtle guitars then descends into high volume pop dreams; and then it’s over, for the time being at least.

They strut back onto the stage with three songs left to play, Wolf Alice kill it. They play with such power and seemingly effortless class it’s an absolute joy to behold. Ending the gig on a high note with ‘Giant Peach’ is everything it’s hyped up to be in the video. It induces hip thrusting and general crowd naughtiness. They play it ferociously and it’s such a fantastic way to end an awesome night. My hat goes off to Wolf Alice.

Wolf Alice  Official | Facebook | Twitter

Lauren Noble

Journalism student at MMU; interested in all things music related. Lover of art and waffles. I accidentally sing loudly on the bus far too often.