Review: Wolf Alice at O2 Apollo Manchester

  • London 4-piece Wolf Alice play to a sold out O2 Apollo on their Visions of a Life album tour.
  • NQ reporter Tom Green reviews the gig.


It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to see a band for the first time. As boring as it sounds, I do tend to just stick with what I know; jumping at tickets for the same bands in the same venues tour after tour, year after year.

But this all changed on Thursday when I went to see Wolf Alice play to a sold-out crowd at the O2 Apollo in Manchester.

A band I’ve been into for a few years now, I was excited to see whether their live performances I’ve read so much about lived up to my expectations.

The release of their second studio album Visions of a Life in September this year was a fresh, welcome reminder of their unique sound after the two years that have passed since their debut My Love is Cool.

The Apollo is a big old venue, and it takes a big sound to fill it, but as I walked through those doors as I have done many times before, I was confident that Wolf Alice were about to deliver just that.

As I stood with my overpriced beer and watched the Apollo fill up around me, I knew I wasn’t the only person excited for what we were about to see.

After support from Superfood and Sunflower Bean, the lights dimmed amid screams from the crowd, Wolf Alice took to the stage and opened with Heavenward – a track fittingly named as Ellie Rowsell’s stunning vocals lifted the crowd to spine-tingling heights.

As expected, the set was made up of a mixture of old and new material because although the band are probably just as desperate to play new tunes on the road as we are to hear them, it just doesn’t feel like Wolf Alice without tracks like Your Loves Whore, Lisbon and Bros.

Yuk Foo got the adrenaline rushing throughout the room. A sea of fists pounded the air across the crowd as Joel Amey gave his bass drum a similar pounding up on the stage.

“I don’t give a shit!” screams Rowsell, standing centre stage; crowd in awe, cool as fuck.

You’re a Germ and Your Loves Whore kept the atmosphere ticking over nicely before things inevitably slowed down.

The constant variety in Wolf Alice’s sound and tempo is what makes them what they are and the strength of both Visions of a Life as a record and their live performance is determined heavily by this.

A perfect blend of edgy guitar music with attitude intertwined with ethereal synths and romantic lyrics mean they are able to evoke almost every emotion.

The crowd lap up the grungy sounding St. Purple and Green but minutes later are standing there comparing goosebumps for the utterly fantastic Don’t Delete the Kisses.

The band breeze through the remainder of the set and continue to toy with the tempo throughout.

 A special mention must be given to the tightly-performed Lisbon and Beautifully Unconventional and as Planet Hunter echoes around the Apollo, there I am again, left speechless by the power of Rowsell’s voice.

I feel I’m doing the whole band a disservice by constantly singling out Rowsell, so sorry guys, but she absolutely stole the show.

Her slicked back hair and dress is basically a trademark now. She owns it.

After an encore of Blush and Giant Peach, it’s home time. I leave the Apollo completely mesmerised by what I have seen.