Sunday evening on the first day of October. The rain is lightly pouring outside, and a crowd of around 100 people are cosied into Resident Music, Brighton, ready for an intimate gig from the one and only Wolf Alice. Arriving late meant I was to stand at the back of the shop, struggling to see over the album stands, however, this did not take away from the high quality of the group’s performance. A strong welcoming applause from the crowd indicated to me the arrival of the much-anticipated four-piece, and so Wolf Alice began their set.
The band opened with Sadboy, a new song not yet heard other than by those eager to give their sophomore album Visions of a Life a listen, released on Friday 29th September. The crowd was quiet yet comfortable as the guitar gently played, light percussion tapping out over the top and Ellie Roswell’s strong vocals ringing out through the small venue. Heads in the intimate audience were notably bobbing up and down as they took in the new song with a warm applause at the end, before falling back into a silence. One band member said ‘does anyone else feel a bit… weird?’, the crowd chuckling in response and allowing everyone to settle in more comfortably for the following few songs.
As the set continued I came to realise that while you can soften the band’s songs, Ellie’s voice will continue to smoothly transition between a light whisper to resonating wildly and loudly, giving each song that undeniably powerful punch that is the staple sound of Wolf Alice. The softened guitar also allows for the band’s harmonies to be more prominent, enticing a new way to listen to the band and appreciate not only the instrumental techniques but also the extensive range of their dual vocalisation.
The band used an electric guitar to perform Beautifully Unconvential that was more chilled out than the album version, yet still caused the floorboards of the venue to vibrate; this opened up a new perspective of the sound that allowed it to not only be heard but also felt, eliciting a stronger feeling of intimacy between the band and audience. Some audience members, in particular, decided to get a piggyback in order to see over the album stands, eager to not only hear and feel the music but to see it too. My lack of vision did not take away from the immensely passionate performance that was being given.
The band spoke honestly with the crowd, Ellie laughing as she murmured ‘I am so bad at this’ while trying to make conversation. This nervous attitude made the performance and the members themselves feel more authentic, creating a tighter bond between band and fans. One member asked the crowd ‘put your hand up in you haven’t bought the album’; no hands were raised, to which a shocked reply of ‘sick I f*cking love you guys’ was met with laughter from the crowd. These small interactions only confirmed my sense that all the members from Wolf Alice are pretty down to earth and truly deserve the appreciation and attention they receive.
The band further satisfied fans by playing Bros, one of the lead singles from their debut album My Love is Cool. The stripped back version seemed to hold a faint country tone in the guitar but was still rooted in their indie folk sound.
To finish their set, the band announced they would play Don’t Delete the Kisses last; there was a quiet chorus of gasps from the crowd as many sounded ecstatic to hear they would perform a potential fan favourite off the newest album. My love for the band was strongly confirmed during the final song, with Ellie’s almost husky and low voice combined with her strong and loud notes resonating throughout the small shop venue. The guitar grew louder as they built up to the last chorus – the band chose what I personally find the best song off Visions of a Life to finish their set.
While some may not have yet listened to Visions of a Life prior to the performance, others in the audience visibly appreciated the change in tone from the album’s intense and pleasantly obstreperous sound. Wolf Alice seem to successfully marry together a sound that is both aggressively satisfying while also cinematic in its beauty and presentation. This chilled, short acoustic set has only fed my enthusiasm to see the band again, but in a bigger venue with a whole, live set. I’m yet to stop listening to their newest album on repeat.
I’m yet to stop listening to their newest album on repeat.