Standing tall and illuminated blue in the centre of Southampton, the O2 Guildhall is swimming with fans for tonight’s sold out line-up Superfood, Sunflower Bean, and headliners Wolf Alice.
Due to unexpected roadworks, we unfortunately arrive at the venue just as Birmingham duo Superfood leave the stage. Despite not seeing them play, the crowd are buzzing as they spew out the doors for a cigarette and we overhear a girl saying the mosh pit was insane, which can only mean good things.
We make our way to the front of the already sweaty crowd for Sunflower Bean and as the lights dip and masses roar, sparkly dressed vocalist and bassist Julia Cumming takes the stage. From New York City, they open with crowd pleaser ‘Burn It’ then slip easily into cheery tune ‘Come On’, the crowd now bobbing and chanting along to the psych and metal leaning guitar music. Guitarist and vocalist Nick Kivlen, who’s the spitting image of Bob Dylan, dons the stage in grey silk pyjamas adding to their already unique image of chopped hair and sulky poses. Cumming croons delicate melodies while Kivlen’s crunchy deep vocals compliment her perfectly, especially in call and response songs such as ‘I Was Home’ and brand new single ‘I Was A Fool’. Both Superfood and Sunflower Bean have supported the whole tour and it’s shown in their tight, together songs. Closing the set on a psychedelic tinged solo that teases the crowd with false endings, the room is buzzing and full, ready for more.
After sneaking off to buy cheap beer, we return excited for the much-anticipated North London 4-piece Wolf Alice. Squeezing as close to the red curtain framed stage as we can, a sea of yelling fans surround us. The huge, vintage décor room feeling hot and heaving as a spotlight beams onto lead singer Ellie Rowsell, who jumps straight into the opener of recent album Visions Of A Life, ‘Heavenward’. Her flawless shoe-gaze laced vocals echo the room and put the crowd in a swaying trance before slapping them awake again with their screeching, gut churning single ‘Yuk Foo’. The mosh pit already kicking off with flying beers and crowd surfing men, Wolf Alice are playing a hell of a show, fitting between old and new songs.
Guitarist Joff Oddie has a commanding stage presence as he throws his guitar around and gets the crowd clapping, while the more concealed drummer/vocalist Joel Amey smashes every song with complete ease. The band look and sound great together and with Rowsell’s incredible vocals it’s hard to tear your eyes from the stage. Bassist Theo Ellis asks the crowd if they want a sing-along before slipping into the dreamy pop hit ‘Beautifully Unconventional’ followed by ‘Sadboy’. Rowsell’s envy-worthy skills are displayed as she moves across the stage belting ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’, then pulls her guitar from her back and smashes the solo, appearing to be possibly one of the coolest ladies ever.
The impressive light show turns to strobes as the screeching guitars of personal favourite ‘Fluffy’ closes the set, the whole crowd jumping to Amey’s rhythm. As the song ends and the band exit, deafening screams of an encore begin (accompanied by chants of Jeremy Corbyn), bringing back the band for ‘Blush’ and ‘Giant Peach’. A disco ball splashes the walls with hypnotic patterns, setting a beautiful visual to Rowsell’s unbelievable voice and bringing the night to a surreal close.
To say Wolf Alice put on a good live show would be an understatement, it was both visually and audibly incredible. They’re soon to jet off around USA and Europe so if you find yourself in Washington or Madrid, get yourself a ticket or you’ll miss out big time.