Photos: Wolf Alice at the Newport Music Hall
Now, let’s be honest. We’re pretty spoiled in Columbus when it comes to live music when on any given night you can see a fantastic local band at the Rumba, a mega-massive-pop-star at Nationwide, or like on this Tuesday evening you can go to the Newport Music Hall and see Mercury Prize winners, UK number 1 album holding and quite possibly one of the best bands around right now: Wolf Alice. Live and in person. What a time to be alive.
With the release of the band’s third LP Blue Weekend earlier this year and a string of high-profile gigs in their native UK, the four-piece (Ellie Rowsell, Joel Amey, Joff Oddie and Theo Ellis) are the best they’ve ever been and they once again brought their shoe-gaze dream rock to Columbus and a packed Newport stuffed full of wildly passionate fans.
Rowsell and company quickly claimed the room and set up the evening with a snarling ‘Smile’ that led straight into ‘Germ’ from 2015’s breakthrough My Love is Cool as Ellis and Oddie sprang to frantic life, kicking the air and hammering away at their instruments before settling down a touch for ‘Beautifully Unconventional’. Three songs in and three albums covered. This is a tour of Wolf Alice’s best music to date with a greatest hits set from a band that’s still on the ascendancy.
If there’s any complaint you can throw at Wolf Alice it’s that no song sounds the same, but if you really want to compliment Wolf Alice, it’s the exact same statement and they showed their versatility again with the tender, heart-pulling ‘Safe From Heartbreak (If You Never Fall in Love)’ and ‘How Can I Make It OK?’ followed by the brash punk of ‘Play the Greatest Hits’ and the grunge-tinged set closing fan favorite, ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’.
I first saw Wolf Alice at the Basement, thinking to myself about how lucky I am to see a band like this in a venue this small. And that happened again at the A&R bar, and yet again at the Newport a few years back and, yeah you guessed it, I got that same feeling tonight. We’re lucky to be here, I hope you feel that way too. Wolf Alice are only going to get bigger.
Additional Reading: Check out CU’s in-depth interview with the band before the show!
Matt Ellis is a freelance photographer who covers bands that visit the city and the Columbus Crew MLS team. More about Matt can be found on his Instagram.
All photos by Matt Ellis