Wolf Alice have emerged as leaders from the pack. They boast impressive credentials winning an NME award and being nominated for a Brit, Grammy, Ivor Novello and a Mercury (now breathe). Perhaps even more impressive, they’ve made grunge rock cool again 25 years since Nevermind.
Yet to throw Wolf Alice into the grunge rock label is perhaps an injustice to the influences the Camden quartet boast. There’s elements of My Bloody Valentine-esque shoegaze, engaging woozy and glistening chords yet other songs veer towards Smashing Pumpkins and Hole. However, it’s clear frontwoman Ellie Roswell’s presence is far from the motionless ‘gazing at their shoes’ origin of shoegaze. She’s brimming with confidence tonight darting across the stage, even sparing moments to shimmy simultaneously with bassist Theo Ellis on ‘Giant Peach’.
I first recall seeing Wolf Alice supporting Swim Deep back in 2013 at Shepherds Bush, rather unsurprisingly, Wolf Alice have bypassed the Brummie ‘one direction of the indie world’ who are the main support tonight. Back in 2013 Roswell seemed slightly awkward, unaccustomed to stage life. However, since the release of extensive singles resulting in the landing of their debut My Love is Cool, Roswell seems destined to be on stage, and is comfortable at the York Barbican.
Whether it’s the ferocious yelps on ‘You’re a Germ’ over guitarist Joel Amey’s crunching punk riffage, or the luscious reverb drenched tones of ‘Blush’ over chorus soaked guitars. The concoction is truly lethal, and the teenage crowd mosh systematically. School night? Pfft. It’s refreshing, and encouraging seeing to see the audience scream every word back to Ellie Roswell, like they relate to her tales of melancholily growing up in a confused world and her subsequent relationship strife. The personality and quality of Wolf Alice’s songs means that they will become a favourite band to many.
It’s not quite an arena tonight in York but expect this to be one of the last occasions to see them at a venue of this medium size. As leaders of the pack, Wolf Alice will certainly ascend to arena heights soon. Judging by tonights ferocious performance it’s definitely deserved.