Wolf Alice + Superfood @ o2 Institute, 16th November, 2017

If Wolf Alice were looking to project an image of established rockers, they certainly succeeded. During a concert that ebbed and flowed in perfect balance between harmonious intimate pieces and rambunctious hard rock anthems, it was no wonder the audience too were moving in and out of mosh pits and comfortable sways. Along with a spectacular set of supporting bands, they brought with them a youthful and spirited gig.

Starting out with the melancholic ‘Heavenward’, their latest single that ushers in the newly found shoegaze influences of their latest album, it was hazy and lazy and only a warm up. Wolf Alice soon found their comfort zone in the second song of the night ‘Yuk Foo’, one of the lead singles from their second album ‘Visions of a Life’. It’s a vicious grunge inspired song that encourages a ferocious soundscape. Then in a complete U-turn, they revert back to debut album ‘My Love is Cool’ and the softer ‘You’re a Germ’. It was this type of contrast that kept the glitter smeared crowd at the front on their toes when rushing to the front to crash into each other, to suddenly take a step back and appreciate one another.

The backdrop of the stage remained consistent with a snowy landscape with a single off-centre tree, but it was the lighting that set the mood. The darker pieces contrasted blue lighting with red spotlights on the band members. While the softer songs were allotted a violet or pristine white, bouncing off the disco ball above and bouncing around the room. This goes for support band Sunflower Bean as well. The dynamic orange spotlights that flashed on and off throughout the set felt like something out of a seventies game show that absolutely matched their style.

There is also something to be said from the incredible support, courtesy of Superfood and Sunflower Bean, who were just as integral to the night as the main attractions themselves. There two styles fitted wonderfully with Wolf Alice’s growing rock credentials. Superfood seemed like the obvious rockers. Shouting into the mic and pumping the audience full of adrenaline which lead to the first lot of crowd surfing of the night.

Sunflower Bean however were completely contrasted, with a seventies styled aesthetic, in terms of musical style and a lead singer who could give The Runaways a run for their money. As with all the bands of the evening, there seemed to be a growing riot-girl trend that felt as if they took a page out of Debbie Harry or Courtney Love’s book. Both lead singers Ellie Rosewell and Julia Cumming of Sunflower Bean were unapologetic and fully prepared to scream the house down with some of the louder speaker-blowing songs.

By far, the most memorable part of the night was the eruption of love the audience showed for the band, when the early chords of ‘Silk’ purred out and brought everyone together. With a grittier tone than the standard album version, the band knew what they were doing when they were placing all their power in this one song. It was the time when everyone came together, jumping and swaying in rhythm. Rosewell’s vocals are impressive and held out throughout the entire performance, not dropping for even a second despite some incredibly melodic screaming.


The entire band had complete command over the audience, occasionally taking the time between songs to build a rapport with their fans and joking with them (let’s hope the person who threw their keys on stage got in alright). And in return, Birmingham gave them the recognition they deserved, making it a truly memorable gig.

Reviewer: Jack Roberts

Photographer: Marc Osborne

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