Wolf Alice + Drenge | Live Review


Photos (c) Hannah Broughton

This was sadly not either bands most convincing Bristol performance.

Tonight at the Academy we see two bands return who have become much bigger beasts of late. Drenge and Wolf Alice have indeed put in the leg-work when it comes to touring; their efforts paying dividends with a sold out crowd tonight.

Emerging amongst smoke, the trio Drenge ensure that the night hits the ground running. ‘We Can Do What We Want’ quashes any doubts as to whether their new album would sustain itself. Tattered youths hurl themselves into gaping circles and it’s all exhilarating to be a part of. This is a band who have kept their appeal, there’s no limit to the amount of times you can hear belters from that rugged and ramshackle debut album live.

In many ways, however, it feels like more of the same. Their second album housed some stunning tracks which were omitted from the setlist. ‘Have You Forgotten My Name?’ was undoubtedly a masterpiece, a doomy, emotional squall of guitars and clattering drums. For those fans who’ve seen this band many times it would have been nice to hear more choice cuts from their new album. Even the intelligently layered ‘The Woods’ was missed out. This argument might however be crumpled by the masses still getting stuck in to the failsafe Drenge classics. This is a band whom we still very much adore, it would just be nicer if the live set threw a few more curveballs.

Wolf Alice only help the crowd uphold their animated nature. It’s promising that their most convincing tracks are the newest ones. ‘My Love Is Cool’ is of course the focal point of their set. Ellie Rowsell is a clear role-model for her fans as they mouth the words to the songs. It goes a long way to show that there’s substance to these Londoners as a band, it’s beyond having that clear-cut indie aesthetic.

Despite them being touted as a grungy band though, things do become a little predictable. Although they look the part and throw themselves about a bit, there never seems to be any spontaneity or danger. Tracks like ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ seem more prolific though, acting as slower and more thought out pieces. There’s also no denying that the sound is well-honed and tight as-well.

A major publication recently claimed that this band ‘will change your life’, but you can’t help but feel things need refining a bit before that lofty statement rings true. This was sadly not either bands most convincing Bristol performance.

Check out ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ right here: