To encourage people to return to live gigs, Wolf Alice have teamed up with Music Venue Trust and The National Lottery to create the Revive Live Tour, playing select small venues across the UK. It’s rare to see this London four-piece in such an intimate venue, at this price – tickets were £15, and a security guard told me that tickets sold out in 41 seconds.
‘Kevin’ took to the stage first, guitar in hand, rocking a cosy cardigan which he’d bought that day from Swansea Market and plays excellently, with songs varying from dog theft to how hell is four white walls. Very apt in this era. No one’s heard of him but we didn’t need to. The crowd cheers his name as if they were at a rugby match, to his amusement.
The headliners arrive to deafening screams from the crowd and burst straight into Smile, from latest album Blue Weekend. The energy from the band is reciprocated; Wolf Alice seem justifiably taken aback by how impressive the response is, claiming Swansea wins the award for the best and loudest crowd. This band shine brightest when playing live: these are songs that need to be chanted and screamed. Each member seems in their element, Joff Oddie and Theo Ellis manning either side of the stage in complete control of the crowd and Joel Amey a machine on the drums.
Play The Greatest Hits has everyone in the front half of the room losing their minds, myself included. Wolf Alice’s versatility is demonstrated here: they can go from chill numbers like No Hard Feelings to this without anyone batting an eyelid. An encore of Don’t Delete The Kisses is emotional and euphoric, once again chanted back at the band with intensity. I can’t remember the last gig quite like this, or one where I felt sore the next day from headbanging and dancing.
Announcing this compact, four-venue UK tour, Wolf Alice said, “playing these kinds of shows at these independent venues feels intrinsic to what makes Wolf Alice who we are and it’s been weird not being able to do this kind of thing for the past few years.” This was felt by the audience, too: there was a unique sense of unity in the entire venue, stemming from being unable to enjoy music like this for so long. I can only hope that they will tour smaller venues like this in the future and that it might encourage other musicians to do so, as you get a completely different and intimate experience.
Sin City, Swansea, Mon 27 Sept
words and photos SARAH BOWDIDGE
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