As is mandatory for any shows in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Wolf Alice’s final shows for ‘Visions Of A Life’ have been given a little festive twist. For the most part, it’s incredibly subtle – two Christmas trees stand either side of the stage, unlit until the encore. As the final notes of ‘Giant Peach’ subside, a blizzard of “snow” falls from the ceiling and Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ blares through the PA.
“Snow machines are very different to what I thought they were,” Theo says, sprawled across the couch in the venue’s green room. “I think we all thought they were foam. It’s just fucking white paper really.”
“I wonder if it looks like snow,” frontwoman Ellie Rowsell ponders, too close to the deluge when it falls to get the same view of it as the rest of the venue. One thing she is certain of – it gets everywhere. “I found a piece in my knickers this morning,” she laughs. “It was kind of plastered to my arse.”
The band had previously joked to NME about hiring a Michael Bublé impersonator for the night but there’s an absence of any guests or even Christmas covers. Despite that, there are some treats along the way to get dewy-eyed over – live debuts for ‘VOAL’ tracks ‘After The Zero Hour’ and ‘Sky Musings’, and two old tracks resurrected for the occasion (‘Storms’ from the 2014 EP ‘Creature Songs’ and ‘Fluffy’ b-side ‘White Leather’). The latter in particular has got Ellie feeling nostalgic. “I had a little moment playing it the other day cos I listened to the lyrics almost hearing it as an older me,” she explains. “I felt really sorry for my younger self and I felt a bit sad. Like, ‘Oh god, why was I so pathetic?!’”
It’s a great article, if only because it shows them at the crossroads in which they find themselves as artists. They have two great, classic albums out and now the pressure is on to follow them up with something as good, if not better. This is where a lot of bands slide back or fall apart, so it can’t be an entirely happy time for anyone associated with the band.
Anyone who thinks that there aren’t great bands out there has been ignoring the likes of Wolf Alice. They are classic rock and roll, updated to include everything that’s good about making guitar music.