North Londoners Wolf Alice, seemingly taking that infamous difficult second album challenge in their stride, returned in September with the brave and beautiful ‘Visions Of A Life’... and on Saturday, they returned to Leeds with a performance that was nothing short of empirical.
Taking to the darkened stage of the o2 Academy to the effervescent introduction of the aptly otherworldly ‘Heavenward’, the band seem to momentarily bask in the delighted hum of the crowd; guided in by well over a minute of shoegaze staccato, the celestial atmosphere reaches fever pitch by the time frontwoman Ellie Rowsell’s ethereal vocals kick in. The interestingly titled ‘Yuk Foo’ is ferocious in comparison; snarling vocals amid a furious, guitar-led tonal storm mean that already, just two songs in, the quartet have shown just how difficult it is to assign them to any one genre.
The set is comprised of both old and new, and ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ in particular exudes an almost spectral divinity as the O2’s ceiling is painted with stars, bringing an elucidative visual aspect to proceedings. The paradisiacal ‘Bros’ has seemingly achieved legendary status amongst those who have been with the band since the start, as has the searing ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ which featured on one of their early EPs’, ‘Creature Songs’.
Each and every track is received with equal empyreal delight by their adoring audience, whether old or new. As their second albums’ namesake ‘Visions Of A Life’ races towards its’ cessation and makes way for the venerable ‘Fluffy’, the stage is once again drenched in darkness as an unvanquished Wolf Alice avowedly take their leave. The crowd cry for their return, and within moments the band are back for one last hurrah. The distinctly melancholic ‘Blush’ withholds a touching vulnerability and thought provoking intricacy; it’s atmospherically layered throughout, all but jumping between genres from one verse to the next as a haunting melodic murmur quickly gives way to thrumming riffs.
Grand finale ‘Giant Peach’ is a fitting denouement, even if it does seem to have come too soon. Ascendancy is very much the irrefutable sensation with Wolf Alice’s return to Leeds; the performance is executed with subtle confidence and equilibrium and visually, the interplay between the four is magnetic. Their colossal show is undoubtedly laced with an air of triumph throughout; almost every date on their current tour is sold out, and it’s safe to say that the band currently find themselves on the crest of an almighty wave, showing no signs of diminish.