Wolf Alice - Portsmouth Pyramids Centre
The name Portsmouth pyramids always implies a sense of the exotic, but in reality it has more in common with a leisure centre reception than a pharaoh's tomb. Or so it seemed, until Wolf Alice took the stage.
Glittering under the spotlights there was a sense of amazement. It took the four-piece a couple of songs to get the venue rocking, but from 'You're A Germ' onward the sold-out crowd lapped up all they had to offer which was pretty much everything they have ever released to date! A sixteen song set is pretty impressive for a band with only one album - the fantastic My Love Is Cool - to their name, and yet there was no sign of filler as the audience of variable ages, gender and sexuality soaked up the four piece's bouquet of sounds. Guitarist Joff Oddie, looking the least sparkly of the band in a black T-shirt, enjoyed orchestrating the crowd when not glued to his sound lab of effect pedals which seemed to plague him with hassle throughout the night. Eventually he abandoning the instrument and grabbed Ellie's guitar while shouting ‘Let’s do this punk rock style' to play a raucous 'Moaning Lisa Smile'.
Front-woman Ellie Rowsell sounded and looked majestic, but still unleashed a chilling roar before attempting a gentrified stage dive. The band's bassist Theo Ellis became the group's spokesman thanking us for our applause, praising the groups sound engineer on his hometown return, and drummer Joel Amey's vocals on the mellow 'Swallowtail’. The rest of the quartet kept the patter to a minimum and just concentrated on the music, which was always heartfelt and energised especially on 'Bros' and 'Your Loves Whore'. During the more ambient of tracks like 'Silk' the band can quick-step from their grungier tracks to the mellow effortlessly, and look like a band who love playing live and are becoming masters of their craft. There are some of us who welcome the changes in pace, segments of the crowd managed to keep the pogo-ing up for the entire concert, and even through to the encore whilst the majority paced themselves, only dancing when it felt impossible to resist, for songs like 'Blush' and the show closing 'Giant Peach'
They recently won a NME Award for Best Live Band, and after tonight's performance who could protest. As their star rises it may be awhile before we will see Wolf Alice in such an intimate venue.