North London quartet, Wolf Alice have been on the rise for the past few years but it’s only within the last twelve months or so that they’ve really exploded and come into their own. The release of their debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ saw the band tackle the infamous hurdle that is Brixton Academy in London and now playing to packed out crowds has become the norm; their latest tour proves just as much.
The morning of their show at Brighton Dome, the band hit back at previous tour companions, Fat White Family, for labelling their music as “drivel for angry nine-year-olds” in an interview with Time Out. However, Wolf Alice aren’t in the mood to long over it. They’ve got bigger things on their mind and tonight’s show at The Dome is one of them.
“We love Brighton,” begins lead singer Ellie Rowsell, “Especially this venue. I feel very honoured to have been invited to play here.” Drummer, Joel Amey weighs in that: “I saw Queens of the Stone Age here with James (who’s in Swim Deep) when we were sixteen. It was such a good show and I’ve been here a couple of times now, I love this venue.”
The band’s line-up has undergone a few alternations since their formation in 2010. Ellie and guitarist Joff are the only two founding members left now and their rapid rise from humble folk origins to the blend of atmospheric grunge and shoe gaze that we’ve come to familiarise ourselves with has seen them reach dizzying heights they could once have only dreamed of.
“The last tour we did finished at Brixton Academy and that was our biggest headline show to date and it’s bigger than anything we’re doing on this tour,” says Joel, who joined the group in 2012 when they started to prick all the right ears on their way up. “That tour helped, we were still kind of finding our feet with a lot of the arrangements from the album because they were recorded, with lots of layers and things and we’re not using any backing tracks or stuff like that live. Once we worked all that stuff out it was a bit more free and fun to play the songs live.”
Now, Wolf Alice are indisputably at the top of their game. Tonight’s show sees them plunge straight into ‘Your Love’s Whore’ complete with a phenomenal light show, marking their 16-song set as a game changer.
Fan favourite ‘You’re A Germ’ was the track that followed and one that has caught the media’s attention with the release of the video the band filmed to accompany it. Described as ‘horror’s groundhog day’, Rowsell tells us that it wasn’t really them who came up with the storyline.
“We just sent out a brief to a number of directors saying that we wanted to make a short movie, which featured as many zombies as possible. At first we didn’t think it would be possible to do with the small budget, especially in one day but it kind of worked out perfectly. The house was incredible in the hills in California too and it was really cool.”
Coolness and effortlessness are two elements that Wolf Alice build their set and stage presence around and with four nights at London’s O2 Forum approaching, the four members of the band are faced with new challenges and obstacles to overcome.
“We’ve never done something lie this before so we’re quite interested ourselves to see how it’s going to turn out,” Ellie tells us. “I don’t think we’ll be mixing things up though. We’ve got different support bands each night, so that’s how each night will differentiate but there’s no script or anything. We’ll take each night as it comes, but in terms of ‘every night is going to be a different night’ I don’t think that’s really plausible because we don’t have enough material.”
Although, the material that they do have is doing enough to assert their status as future headliners of festivals like Reading and Leeds and even Glastonbury someday. Old tunes ‘Bros’ and ‘Fluffy’ are featured and re-upholstered to give their current set new life. The delicate vocals of Rowsell paired with their charming ‘give it all we’ve got’ approach sees the band recapture the spirit and vibes of the 90s.
Chat is kept to a minimum between songs, which lets the music come into full force and stand on its own two feet, although the band still remain as humble and grateful as ever. Joel, particularly seems to enjoy the set and it’s enough to make you wonder what runs through their minds when they’re on stage together.
“We try and just focus on the song,” chirps Joel. “Every time someone turns round I’m like ‘oh’ and I try and make ye contact but they’re just like ‘go away Joel’. We try and just soak it all up and soak it all in but I have had a few moments where I’m like ‘why am I thinking about that now?’
This is something that Ellie also has experience with, adding that she hates that too. “It’s like you’ve been thinking about if you’re going to get a kebab after the show and you really shouldn’t be thinking about that.”
Wolf Alice have proved themselves to be masters among mayhem time and time again. Ellie admits her worries over how the band were going to make the tour different from their last one on British soil, but: “We’re playing to even better crowds and we’re much more comfortable. It’s all good fun.” The fun looks set to continue with the promise of new material soon.
Joel leaves us to ponder over the nature of new cuts by revealing that they’ve been “toying around with a few ideas as we’ve had slightly longer sound checks than before so we’ve had the odd jam and we were making some demos towards the end of last year and the beginning of this year. It’s just finding little bits of time to really say we’re focusing on new things but it’s in the works.”