It was still 75 degrees outside when UK indie rock darlings Wolf Alice took the stage at the Fonda Theatre at 11 p.m. last night. The heat wouldn’t keep the crowd from expending all their energy as they rocked out to the band’s hour-long performance in support of their debut full-length album My Love is Cool.
It’s amazing to realize that the band’s first LA gig was just this past January at Bardot’s It’s a School Night. Tuesday was their fourth stop in Los Angeles and each time the crowds have grown in size, just as the buzz around the band has. In that time, singer/guitarist Ellie Rowsell, guitarist Joff Oddie, bassist Theo Ellis and drummer/vocalist Joel Amey have all grown as performers at the same scale their crowds have expanded.
Wolf Alice kicked off their set with “Your Loves Whore,” one of many songs that feature a slow-building momentum that puts Rowsell’s charmingly beautiful vocals at the forefront. Oddie’s guitar-slaying comes in at the end as Rowsell shouts “I can only love you more” over and over. It was an epic way to begin their set and things would only grow from there.
Attending fans were growing anxious as they wanted to start a mosh as early as possible. They jumped the gun slightly, moshing to the coming-of-age friendship song “Bros,” which doesn’t quite fit that mosh scene. The center of the crowd turned into a friendly mosh — which some nearby were not quite ready for, full beers in hand. If only the crowd had waited until the next song. the banger “You’re a Germ,” which was a mosh song if I ever heard one (don’t worry, they had enough left in the tank to fully mosh to that one too).
Wolf Alice continue to prove they’re more than the box some tried pigeon-holing them into after the buzz they received off the song “Moaning Lisa Smile,” a throwback 90’s-grunge style track. From song-to-song, their set mixed speeds.
At one point in the set, Rowsell introduced the song “Swallowtail” by noting their drummer Amey would be leading the vocals. The crowd seemed a bit bothered by that fact at first — that is, until Amey’s vocals came into the fold and blew people away with its pitch-perfectness. It was one of the quieter moments of the set, which contrasted nicely with the next song “Fluffy,” one of the bigger bangers on the album. In that song, Rowsell showcases her ability to scream with the best of ’em.
The set closed with “Giant Peach,” one of the favorites from the album. Rowsell and Ellis began the song with a little step-dance routine at the front of the stage before Rowsell launched into some vocals that were reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne at the peak of his powers.
The band returned to the stage for a three-song encore, culminating in the previously-mentioned “Moaning Lisa Smile,” which sounds like it came right out of the catalog of Alice in Chains. That powerful opening riff sent the crowd into hysterics and Rowsell threw the microphone into the crowd for the final chorus as she delivered an awesomely demonic glare.
I had one simple thought at the end of the show: Wolf Alice has officially arrived in the United States — and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
Fellow UK alt-rockers Drenge were hand-picked by Wolf Alice to open for them on this tour, and it was easy to see why. This three-piece band complements the headliners quite perfectly. Brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless have a Royal Blood-type feel to them — just pure unadulterated shredding.
Though people grew restless as they waited for Wolf Alice to take the stage, nobody was complaining while Drenge were doing their thing. They’ll be back in LA headlining their own shows pretty soon, I’d imagine based on how they were received in support.
Also on the evening’s bill were Made Violent. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to catch their set, but our photographer Ceethreedom got some pretty rad captures of them.
Check out the photos below of Wolf Alice, Drenge and Made Violent at the Fonda Theatre!
Words: Mark E. Ortega