This week is BRITS Week, which sees the infamous (if not controversial) BRIT Awards take place down on London. As part of the celebration, the awards join forces with charity War Child and O2 to host a selection of intimate shows with BRIT artists; all in aid of War Child. This years shows included Alt-J at London’s The Garage, as well as The Amazons at Omeara.
Being a Northerner, I of course was delighted to discover a Brits Week show in Manchester. On Tuesday night I found myself as one of the 600 lucky people to have secured a ticket to what, personally is the most exciting show of the year so far; the mighty Wolf Alice at Gorilla.
(Photo - Zack Hough)
If the prospect of seeing Wolf Alice play in such an intimate venue wasn’t special enough, an opening talk from War Child’s Rob Williams and young campaigner Layla really put into perspective just how important these shows are. Having raised over £600,000 already, War Child really are doing the most incredible work, and it truly felt an honour to be a part of this year’s shows.
With the crowd well and truly warmed up, Wolf Alice took to the stage overflowing with the excitable, down to earth personality which makes them so loveable. Heavenward was a fitting intro to the set; instantly creating a truly intimate, magical feel in the room. The mellow feel didn’t last long though, as the anger fuelled Yuk Foo hit like a smack to the face; unleashing the best kind of chaos on the small stage of Gorilla.
(Photos - Zack Hough)
A slight hitch hit the set following You’re A Germ as Joff Oddie’s pedalboard broke down; causing bassist Theo Ellie to give up on his ‘crowd banter’ as the four were forced to leave the stage while the problem was fixed. Despite the break lasting a good twenty minutes or so, Wolf Alice returned to the stage as if they hadn’t even left, proving just how strong a band they are.
The set continued minus anymore technical problems, packed with a mix of both old and new material; from the hauntingly beautiful Silk and St. Purple & Green to the screeching energy that oozes from Fluffy and Your Loves Whore. One thing is for sure, Wolf Alice possess a versatility which most current bands are lacking, and it certainly sets them apart. Their ability to switch from the thrashing, screaming sounds of those punk driven tracks to the raw, vulnerable emotion of older tracks like Blush and still having a crowd firmly in their grasp is truly fascinating.
(Photo - Zack Hough)
I find it impossible not to love Wolf Alice, even aside from their music simply being in the same room as them is enjoyable. Their energy is infectious, Ellie Rowsell’s switch from almost timid while chatting between songs to screaming face to face with fans and waving a bouquet of roses as she flowed through the remainder of the show gives off such a down to earth persona which is nothing other than lovable.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Wolf Alice show if it didn’t end in sheer chaos amongst the crowd. The thrashing delight of Giant Peach tore the room apart as Ellie Rowsell stood atop of the barrier with a smile spread from cheek to cheek; adding the perfecting touch to a show which once again left me slightly in awe.