Wolf Alice Rising!
Now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about! One night after seeing a passable Rooney show, I was back at the Foundry to see Wolf Alice. What a difference one night makes. A sold-out performance by one of rock’s up-and-coming stars, Wolf Alice ripped through a tight and energetic set that blew the roof off the place.
It’s amazing that Wolf Alice was even playing this place. The Foundry only holds 450 people, and they could have easily played the Fillmore given the experience my friends had in getting tickets. If you missed last night’s show, I doubt you’ll be able to see WA in a venue of this size again. It was intimate, and the band knew it and enjoyed the hell out of it.
Wolf Alice was formed in North London in 2010. They have one full LP out, and another soon to be released. The first album, My Love is Cool, came out in 2015, and is just a great record. A mixture of grunge, folk and dreamy/trippy elements, it is heavy on hooks and rocking electric beats. Ellie Rowsell (vocals, guitar) and Joff Oddie (guitars, vocals) are the original members, and Theo Ellis (bass), and Joel Amey (drums, vocals) round out the quartet.
Ellie is amazing. She is beautiful and sexy, has a wonderful voice with huge range, and has developed a stage persona that is elegant, fun-loving and edgy. I saw WA at Union Transfer a bit ago, and the band is much better now (and they were good then). Much of that credit has to go to Ellie as she carries a lot of the load, and does it with aplomb.
The rest of the band is solid, too. The rhythm section is tight, and drives the powerful songs through their soft/loud progressions. Joff Oddie is a presence on the stage, too. He still moves about as though he is dodging bullets or trying to avoid a bee, but he also plays to the crowd and helps to elevate the show with his lead riffs. WA is not a jam band, but their songs have a strong instrumental structure that require refined musicianship, and Oddie is key to their success.
The crowd also helped to push the band to a higher performance level. It was an all-ages show, and while there was a huge age range (I would guess anywhere from 6 to 70 – by the way, who brings a 6-year old to a show at a club?), it was biased toward a younger core group who showed up early, pressed the stage, and jumped/danced to every tune. I was near the front and off to the side – even sitting on the merch table for a bunch of songs, high above the crowd - and it was huge fun to watch the interaction of the crowd and the band. It also allowed me to get tons of great pictures, which I’ve generously shared with you in this post, haha.
WA played all their best songs from My Love is Cool. “Bros,” “Moaning Lisa Smile,” “Your Loves Whore,” “You’re A Germ” all were energetic and fantastic. They also played a number of new songs, and from the sound of them, there is no sophomore slump coming. The new tunes were well-received, and followed the WA script of quiet intervals followed by intense electric rock. I came away more than satisfied, listened to WA on the way home (how often does it happen that you haven’t had enough?), and had trouble falling asleep. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen this year.
The only issues I had were with the Foundry – c’mon, man, get the toilets to flush and fix the men’s room sink already – and the opening act, a New Jersey punk band called Del Mar. I have been to many punk shows, and expect sloppiness which is usually outweighed by enthusiasm. But Del Mar is possibly the worst band I’ve seen this year. The drummer is terrible, the “singing” is just full-throated screaming, and the songs have no hooks. Let’s hope they break up soon.
Next show up is Royal Headache and Pissed Jeans at Union Transfer. It’s another show that I’m looking forward to before I go to see rock royalty in the form of Tom Petty followed by Coldplay. And with that, I hope you enjoyed the pictures and have a good week. Play some Wolf Alice if you get the chance.
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My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.