Wolf Alice are a four piece UK rock band from London. This band is fronted by female lead, Ellie Rowsell who also plays guitar and performs alongside Joel Amey (Drums), Joff Oddie (Guitar) and Theo Ellis (Base).
Having been fairly late in getting on the Wolf Alice vibe, I was grateful I wasn’t so late I missed their tour. I went from loving their sound to purchasing tickets within days. I managed to rally up some troops and with the promise of beers on the train the plan was in motion for a great Saturday night out in good ole Manchester.
However, recently I seem to be winning in the stupidity games and last week was no exception. I bought the tickets on the Wednesday and as I printed them out late that night it quickly dawned on me that this gig was not on the weekend at all, it was actually the very next night! What an utter dingbat, all I can say is thank goodness I noticed and didn’t turn up to the Ritz on Saturday night, friends I had blagged to go in tow, trying to get into a gig that had happened 2 days previous. Words would have failed me but alas I managed to save myself some embarrassment and also averted completely missing Wolf Alice – hurrah.
I hadn’t been to a gig at the Ritz in Manchester before but everyone I mentioned it too gushed at what a great venue it is and I can see why.
Walking through the doors I felt as though I had taken a wrong turn and had landed myself in a modern day 1900 saloon. The silhouettes of the upper viewing gallery were draped over the banisters, the obligatory one knee bent, as they peered down at the crowds below waiting for their evenings entertainment to ensue.
Tall bar tables hemmed the main floor with people casually leaning, guzzling their ales deep in chatter whilst other people opted for the more speak easy sofa settings that were dotted around the outer edges. It isn’t your usual, crowd of shuffling people waiting for the bands to start, gig. Instead it had an all more relaxed vibe with a sense this was more synonymous with a local swilling hole than a music venue. All that was missing were some cowboy hats and a brawl or two. Thankfully none of which made an appearance.
All that aside I think the Ritz is an awesome venue. It is intimate without having to quickly get acquainted with the several people you are wedged between. It is easy, relaxed and its quirky edge only added to the whole experience.
The band that were on prior to Wolf Alice were a band called Magic Gang. I had to actually check what the band name was following the gig as all I could make out from the lead singer, whom was the spitting image of Christopher Charles Mintz-Plasse in Role Models, was Magic. Good tip for any bands playing gigs, if you don’t have some big sign promoting your bands name at least ensure you project your voice enough for all to understand.
There was a real variety of ages at the gig, which surprised me having initially assumed that mid-week the place was likely to be filled with hormone pumped students jacked up on red bull, however it seems that Wolf Alice appeals to those of all ages.
At about 9.15pm Wolf Alice energetically bounced onto the stage. Ellie, tall, slender with now blonde hair, has the silky, eerily beautiful tones of Mazzy Stars Hope Sandoval with the quirkyness of LadyHawkes Pip Brown but with all the spunk of her own stage prescience.
She strums a guitar with ease and head bangs with an airs and graces of a swan. Within minutes I was smitten as she sung me into a girl crush frenzy.
Ellis is undoubtedly an amazing singer. Her voice, very distinct, filled every inch of that room and beyond. Her high notes wrap themselves around you, take a hold of you and grab your undivided attention. I can’t quite believe such a voice, so pure, so high and so powerful, can come out of such a stature.
If I wasn’t watching Ellie in complete idolisation I was watching Joel on the drums. His whole body seemed to surge as he powered all his soul and his energy through into those beats. It must take some stamina to play like that non stop for the duration of a gig. I always have had admiration for drummers but Joel, for me, took it to a whole new level.
It seems most gigs are over policed these days with bouncers diluting the atmosphere, monitoring the crowds and being a constant protective barrier between the fans and the band. However, there was none of that at this gig and people threw themselves into the spirit with some old school crowd surfing which even the band joined in with, throwing themselves into the crowd at the end of the gig along with towels and drum sticks.
Wolf Alice mesmerize me as they move from pure angelic tones to rocky depths effortlessly. Blush is one of my favourite songs and shows the bands lighter side. This song can make me drift to other realms and I can see why they have been compared to likes of The XX.
In comparison ‘Giant Peach’, a song off their new album due in June, shows the other end of their perfect spectrum and showcases a little more electro gruff. I for one hope we see more of this side of Wolf Alice with the new album and in the future.
Wolf Alice, girl crush aside, are clearly set to be a great rock band and right now I don’t think there is another UK rock band quite like it.
I really feel that the UK has taken a slight back seat in producing rock bands over the last few years, however, bands like Alice Wolf bring hope that the UK is set to bring UK Rock back with a bang.