Wolf Alice at Newcastle City Hall
The iconic indie-rock band is back on tour! I had the delight of watching them perform at Newcastle City Hall and was enthralled by the performance of, what I think to be, their best album yet.
After the release of Blue Weekend in the summer of 2021, the band has been, like all artists, locked out of playing live performances. This tour was highly anticipated after the successful album release and winning “Group of the Year” at The BRITS 2022.
Blue Weekend is an amalgamation of dynamics. Featuring fast paced punk enthused tracks such as “Play the Greatest Hits” and “Smile”, to tracks that hone in on Ellie Rowsell’s accomplished vocals and lyrical talents, such as in “How Can I Make This Okay?” and “Safe From Heartbreak”. We have seen the band go on an iconic journey through the 2000s and Blue Weekend proves to be a climactic triumph. The major success of this album for myself is the balance achieved between various styles of songs, and the knowing of when to hold back on the heavy guitar riffs and crashing drums. A trope alternative rock musicians can often fall into.
It comes at no surprise that the venue was sold out. The band stood in front of either a blue, green, or red lit backdrop, creating fantastic silhouettes. The set heavily featured the newest album, but played homage to their greatest hits: “Don’t Delete the Kisses”, and “Giant Peach”. Unapologetically crowd pleasing, the guitarist Joff Oddie and bassist Theo Ellis, reveled in hyping the long awaited audience.
The quality of sound, unfortunately, came across as messy through the auditorium’s speakers which was disappointing, but could be put aside as the production on Blue Weekend is quite loose and often lacks clarity. Whether this was intentional or not, we cannot be certain.
The aspect I relished in most was Ellie’s vocal quality. Since first starting in 2010, Ellie’s range, power, and control as a singer has progressed significantly. It is particularly telling when she sings “Don’t Delete the Kisses”, as she seamlessly hits the note on the word “meant” in the iconic line “What if it’s not meant for me?”. Another stand out moment is in the penultimate chorus of “How Can I Make it Okay?”; her belt stands in the far-ground on the recorded track, but it effectively cuts through the musicians when watching her live. I don’t think it would be an overstatement to say that Ellie Roswell has paved the way for fellow female vocalists in British alternative indie-rock.
If you are a lover of alternative rock, indie-rock, and shoegaze and haven’t listened to Blue Weekend, my first question would be, what have you been listening to? And I would command you to go listen to it now. If you are so lucky as I was to go watch the trio play you won’t regret it. I personally lost three items of clothing at this gig venue, and I can say for certainty, it was completely worth it.