There was a strong sense of anticipation evident at a sold out Portland Arms, Wolf Alice were in town.
First on were Gengahr, a four piece band from London. The opening ‘Dizzy Ghosts’ set the tone for the short set, each song featuring the almost falsetto lead vocal twisting around the swooping guitar effects. There are comparisons with Wild Beasts but that is no bad thing. The strongest song was ‘Fill My Gums With Blood’ (great title!) and an appreciative audience listened intently to a confident performance.
On the way in I had been given a packet of popping candy, a promotion for the next act Superfood, another four piece but this time more of an energetic sound, with sharp guitar lines punctuating the unpredictable changes and developments in each song. Someone near me said ‘they sound like Blur’, which at first I could not get out of my head but I think they have an impressive sound of their own. The set really took off half way through with ‘Bubbles’ all the way to the final song ‘Superfood’. They were an ideal act to prepare us for the headliners..
Then finally they were on, described as ‘fuzzy indie rock’, Wolf Alice are impressive on recordings, but live they are something very special. Excellent sound quality, a subtle echo effect on the microphone for the stunning lead vocals from Ellie Rowsell, powerful guitars and drums, driving bass lines and a collection of strong songs. From the start the fans were singing along and any newcomers in the audience were soon won over. An outbreak of crowd surfing kept the security staff busy from ‘You’re a Germ’ onward, adding to the heady atmosphere. The set included a brilliant ‘Blush’ blending into ‘Wicked Game’, a cover of the Chris Isaak song from 1989. ‘Bros’ finished the show, then back on for an encore of ‘Fluffy’. A triumphant show, come back soon, probably to a bigger venue next time…