Wolf Alice Pulls Out All The Stops

O2 Academy (Bristol)
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Wolf Alice play a career-spanning show at the O2 Academy.

Photo credit: The Evening Standard.

Wolf Alice pulled out all the stops for the opening night of their comeback UK tour. Beginning with the dreamy Heavenward, the first track off the new album Visions Of A Life, and following with Yuk Foo, the band got the circle pits going right away. It stayed that way for the rest of the set, which nearly lasted an hour and a half and contained nine out of eleven of the songs from Visions… (that is, everything except Sky Musings and After The Zero Hour). It truly was a career-spanning show, with the older material not being neglected at all – we were treated to all of the old favourites, with the classic Fluffy being given a snazzy new outro and Giant Peach, of course, closing the night at the end of the encore. Lisbon and Silk were also real treats to hear, the emotion of the latter being forever heightened for me thanks to its connection to Trainspotting 2. We even got some tunes from the EPs released before the band’s debut album, in the form of Blush and Moaning Lisa Smile.

Trying to choose live highlights from the new material is difficult, since Wolf Alice’s live sound quality is so high. I can’t say that I was disappointed by the way any of them played out in a live setting, although Planet Hunter does in fact have more impact in the studio version than on stage. The eight-minute epic Visions Of A Life could, theoretically, be a pain in the backside to play live, with all of its twists, turns and tempo changes, but it was excellent, as was the singalong Don’t Delete The Kisses, the experience of this one made sweeter by the disco ball that hung overhead and that made an appearance during the slower songs of the set. That, combined with the light projections on the ceiling and the fabulously executed stage lighting, made for a truly ethereal visual experience that added an extra dimension to the band’s songs.

The audience welcomed the new songs with as much enthusiasm as if they were old classics, and perhaps even more – you may expect Bros to receive the warmest reception, but many of the new songs topped it. It was also nice to see such an age variety in the audience, proving that the band aren’t just a passing tween trend, but of that special type of band who brings everyone (with good music taste) together.

I sincerely hope that this tour, and the album which has instigated it, are merely preliminary stages in a long career ahead for Wolf Alice. As the years pass, they become more confident, the shows get more impressive, and they cement themselves more as contemporary British rock legends. If you can find any tickets for the rest of the tour, take them.