Wolf Alice – Living up to the hype

Wolf Alice finally got round to playing their first show in Luxembourg last night as their original concert earlier in the year was postponed due to award ceremony commitments, which just goes to show the kind of year they’ve had.

Having taken the underground scene by storm back in 2012, Wolf Alice became the most blogged about artist of the year, which only added extra pressure as with each self release the attention increased. By the time they finally released their debut album “My Love Is Cool” in 2015 they had already coveted national press and played on the biggest stages in the country, leading to the album rocketing up to number two in the UK charts which is no mean feat for an indie grunge band in the years of solo acoustic acts and dance music. As well as commercial success they also found critical acclaim with Grammy, Brits & Mercury Prize nominations too.

Another band following in their footsteps are London based Gengahr who brought their indie infused sound to the modest Atelier crowd. With some intricate guitar playing along with some interesting chord progressions they certainly had enough to hold your attention although the lead vocals had a slight marmite effect, you’re either going to love it or hate it, initially I did the latter however as the set progressed I grew to find its endearing qualities.

As their set continued the vocals became less of an issue as I was drawn into their craft, especially John Victor on guitar who managed to drag more out of that instrument than I’ve seen in a while. As their set came to a close I could understand why they’ve toured with Wolf Alice so often, even when moments draw from the likes of Animal Collective they still managed to keep it accessible for a wider audience.

After an enjoyable opener it was up to Wolf Alice to keep the momentum going and so they delivered. Opening with the energy we’ve come to expect from them with “Your Love’s Whore” there was that instant unmistakable shimmering 90s nostalgia to their sound which has become their signature and helped them win legions of fans.

Whilst they’re the front runners of bringing grunge to a wider audience it’s their ability to blend it with infectious pop melodies, such as on “Bros”, that have set them apart and allowed for that wider audience to feel part of their gang.

Throughout the night there were moments of sheer pop beauty with the likes of “Freazy” and the punchier “Storms”, before cranking it up on “She” which provided the first mini mosh pit of the night leading into “Moaning Lisa Smile”. Both of these tracks feature on earlier EPs which is a testament to the strength of their debut album that neither featured on it.

They finished the night with the thunderous driving “Giant Peach” which left some at the front to lose their minds one last time. It’s this delicate balance of knowing when to turn it up to 11 that has worked so well for Wolf Alice and having toured relentlessly for the last three years it will be interesting to see when they will finally get some time off to write the follow-up.

den Atelier – 30.08.16


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