Music Review: Wolf Alice in Melbourne

Wolf Alice
The Forum Theater, April 28

If there’s one Wolf Alice number that acts like a key to unlock their particular signature splendor, it’s: Safe from heartbreak (if you never fall in love)† On the one hand, there is no other Wolf Alice song quite like this one, but it gives the audience the most unobstructed view of their intricate sense of harmony.

Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell performs in Melbourne.Credit:Rick Clifford

Placed eighth in a set of 18 songs, the tightly worded vocal arrangement draws attention to the songwriting craft that propels such utter bangers as Smile and Don’t delete the kissesbut stripped of the anthemic guitars and propulsive keyboard lines, one can really appreciate how unique Wolf Alice is.

Fresh back on stage after a short live hiatus due to a family situation, guitarist/co-founder Joff Oddie is pivotal to the band’s sound, weaving unpredictable yet perfectly placed guitar textures beneath the emotional vocals and born for the stage of vocalist Ellie Rowsell the solid bass lines of bassist Theo Ellis.

Current album Blue weekend was well represented in the set list, but with only three albums to draw from, chances are all fans walked away satisfied with a show characterized by light and shadow, nuance and thump. Few bands can transition from indie rock to post-Rage Against The Machine riffage to space pop with such precision, and yet they do it so effortlessly.

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The Forum was packed to the brim with ornate sculptures with a sold-out crowd ready to sing, and at some points the band seemed utterly overwhelmed with the positive response, being so far from home and after such a long, gigless pandemic. As the band took their bows, visibly giddy with the thrill of a sold-out show in front of such an appreciative audience, it seemed pretty clear that the next tour is destined for a much larger venue.

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