Concert Review: Wolf Alice @ Rams Head Live (4/13/18)

Wolf Alice
Wolf Alice (Photo from FB @wolfalicemusic)

‘This is my favorite gig ever in America!’ – Theo Ellis of Wolf Alice

We all like a little hyperbole masquerading as a compliment, but after the Rams Head Live crowd sang along passionately to “Bros”, Ellie Rowsell, lead singer of Wolf Alice, gave the praise, ‘We’ve played this song so many times, and that was really nice.’ To which bass player Theo exclaimed his hyperbolic proclamation.

Baltimore smiled a bit more, and if anything the already high energy of the crowd went up a few more notches to coincide with the energy exuding from all four members of the UK indie rock band Wolf Alice. It’s not everyday you get to see an amazing show, and Baltimore was living the dream that night.

The evening started with a set by The Big Pink, then Wolf Alice entered below an idyllic forest scene in the background and kicked off with “Heavenward” and “Yuk Foo”, which is raucous rock song that elicited a misguided*¬†mosh pit for a minute.

Touring for their second album, Visions of a Life, Wolf Alice didn’t sell out their stop at Rams Head Live, but everyone present couldn’t have been happier to witness incredible song after incredible song. To the tune of 19 total. They played 10 (of 12) from Visions of a Life and considering they only have two albums and a couple of EPs since 2010, they performed over half of all their released songs.

A few songs later in “Don’t Delete the Kisses”, Ellie’s voice during the chorus of ‘What if it’s not meant for me? love’ brought chills and a new respect for the feel of a live song versus the recorded version. People everywhere scanned each other for acknowledgment, with the look of wow.

Next they played one of my favorite songs from Visions of a Life, “Planet Hunter”, and if anything people were still floored.

The next couple songs were much more energetic, including the aforementioned “Bros” and “Lisbon” and gave the rest of the band the chance to rock. Joff Oddie even threw his guitar high in the air and successfully caught it with the electric cord dangling askew. Joel Amey rounds out the foursome on drums.

At one point, someone in the crowd shouted ‘British people are cool!’, to Theo’s¬†rejoinder ‘That’s the most valid thing I’ve heard.’

My favorite song so far from Visions of a Life is “Beautifully Unconventional’, but I have a new appreciation for “Space & Time”, about the need for time and space to recover, something prophetic after our shared experience with Wolf Alice.

They played two songs in the encore, and ended with the blistering “Giant Peach”, which at times Ellie’s cadence reminded me of Joan Jett at her best.

Full disclosure, ever since I landed a copy of Visions of a Life, it’s been on heavy repeat. If iTunes is to be believed nearly 25 times. This was my first time to catch them live, and now I regret missing their recent visits to DC.

Damn, if you have the chance to see Wolf Alice live do it immediately. Both albums are excellent, but just won’t cut it now.

Setlist
Heavenward
Yuk Foo
You’re a Germ
Your Loves Whore
St. Purple & Green
Don’t Delete the Kisses
Planet Hunter
Bros
Lisbon
Silk
Beautifully Unconditional
Formidable Cool
Sadboy
Space & Time
Moaning Lisa Smile
Visions of a Life
Fluffy

Encore
Blush
Giant Peach

* Aren’t they all misguided? Yet still fun…

 

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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