It’s been one celebration after the other for Wolf Alice since they released ‘Visions Of A Life’ at the close of 2017. They’ve bewitched the cavernous Alexandra Palace, smashed a Radio One stage headline slot at Reading Festival and made it two for two with another Mercury Prize Album nomination. This time around though, they won. It’s been that sort of year for the gang.
And tonight they come home, returning to Brixton Academy after three years away, for the first of two sold-out chapter closes. Before taking to the Christmas tree adorned stage (T’is the season and all), the twinkling wonder of Hedwig’s Theme (from Harry Potter) is played out, cut with lots of “Brexit” soundbites (from the news, and your nightmares). It’s magical and haunting all at once. A fairytale and grim reality. In between the two, that’s where Wolf Alice shine.
Clattering into the furious ‘Yuk Foo’, political, pissed off and empowered, the band waste no time with gentle introductions. This is their time to be heard. Baring their teeth, they bounce straight into the wide-eyed, finger pointing storm of ‘You’re A Germ’ before the hammering, window smasher of ‘Lisbon’ bellows out. Guitars, pints, expectations all go flying as Wolf Alice tear into the evening with jagged lust and full-bodied confidence.
Always quick to shift though, the band slow things down with a run of quiet beauty. ’90 Mile Beach’ floats and twists in the air, ‘Bros’ is still the anthem for a generation’s friendship, dreamy, wild and backed by mirrorball majesty, it unites the room under one voice before ‘Blush’ flickers and engulfs with a resilient dream.
And Wolf Alice don’t stop there. ‘Sky Musings’ is a breathless, existential crisis at 40,000 feet, ‘Planet Hunter’ sees them adrift and on the outside after leaving their mind behind in 2015 and ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ is their breakout pop moment. Sparkling on the big stage, it’s fearful but chooses love and other people. It’s perhaps the perfect song for 2018.
Wolf Alice dive headfirst into singles, album tracks, b-sides and beyond, and never retread their steps. From the rumbling ‘White Leather’ to the deafening ‘Space and Time’, the gang paint every moment bold and keep every twist surprising.
Tonight is another triumph for a band who can apparently do no wrong. Fourteen months into an album cycle, six years into a career, Wolf Alice are still backed by a relentless excitement. For a band so easy to believe in, tonight they’re unbelievable from start to finish.