Thursday 26 November 2015

On Stage: Wolf Alice at Bitterzoet Amsterdam

It's been quite a year for British band Wolf Alice. Their long awaited debut album My Love Is Cool was received very well and landed them a spot on Glastonbury and numerous other festivals and even got them a Mercury Price nomination. Within no time they outgrew the smaller stages and are now moving to the bigger clubs. Fortunately they were booked in Bitterzoet before that, so this is the last chance I get to see them in a small club.

Wolf Alice at Bitterzoet Amsterdam, November 24 2015

Needless to say the venue was sold out weeks before the show. In the meantime a new show was announced in February in the much bigger Paradiso. So everyone here tonight kind of feels lucky to be able to see this band on the rise in such a cosy environment. They kick it off in style with 'Your Loves Whore' and right from the start it's clear this band has spent many miles on the road. Every song sounds very convincing and the group is playing like a well oiled machine. The mix of grunge and electronic music works very well and sounds great tonight.

Wolf Alice is clearly able to write very good songs, since the album doesn't have a weak one on it. And so it already sounds like a greatest hits setlist. It does take a while though before the crowd gets wild. Singer Ellie Rowsell doesn't talk to crowd a lot, but bass player Theo Ellis is the one that will occasionally shout out or try to fire us up. But although everything sounds great, there isn't a real fire starting. A small pit is forming in front of the stage where people are dancing and jumping, but the band could have picked it up a notch to really make this room go wild. All the ingredients are there, but they just forget to light the explosive mix.

Maybe it's because they play the same setlist every night and are starting to run it like a routine by now. It's something you can forgive a young band like this, who want to play as good as possible and can't solely rely on experience. Of course they don't have that many songs to choose from anyway. Besides it's only a minor detail in an otherwise flawless show. Rowsell's voice is strong and clear and the sound mix is pretty good tonight. Before the encore Rowsell leaves the stage at the wrong side of the stage and probably spent the break in limbo. When she returns she's giggling about it and it's nice to see these young musicians still have a whole new world to discover. In the end we've seen a band who already is too big for such a stage and may even play the large venues and festival's main stages in a few years.

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01. Your Loves Whore
02. Freazy
03. Bros
04. You're a Germ
05. Lisbon
06. Silk
07. The Wonderwhy
08. Storms
09. 90 Mile Beach
10. Swallowtail
11. Fluffy
12. She
13. Moaning Lisa Smile
14. Blush
15. Giant Peach

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