Doused in glitter and looking like a walking advertisement for Rokit Vintage, Wolf Alice fans gathered outside The Monarch in Camden. Flailing phones about in excitement – reassuring themselves as much as anyone else that they had actually won tickets – the hoards scrambled inside.
Initially splitting between those who had to get straight to the front and those who were far too preoccupied with free drinks tokens, it didn’t take long for what little space there is in The Monarch to be full. Fighting various cameramen for space (the show being filmed for Vevo), the crowd managed to condense itself, and whilst room for movement was long gone, everyone was much more interested in the stage. Right on cue at half 8, clad in Dr. Martens with the attitude to match, Wolf Alice took to the stage. Kicking off with ‘Fluffy’, it took a matter of seconds for the crowd to become riotous – and for the band to do the same. Ellie Rowsell’s vocals alone are enough to stir even the stillest of rooms, so combined with the rest of the band, and a room of overexcited fans, it was a recipe for chaos. They played through a set of old favourites – ‘She’, ’90 Mile Beach’, ‘Storms’ – as well as new songs such as ‘Lisbon’, which were received with just as much delight.
By ‘Blush’, what had at first been the glittery, eccentrically dressed front of the crowd was a gaggle at Rowsell’s feet, tearing out guitar cables and knocking over amps; and the band just lapped it up. Bringing the set to an end with ‘Bros’, ‘Giant Peach’ (featuring sychronised dance moves) and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’, the band then did an encore of ‘You’re a Germ’ and ‘Fluffy’, both previously played, in order for Vevo to film them. The security guard – who’d seemingly got onto the stage to keep an eye on the crowd – abandoned his post to put guitarist Joff Oddie on his shoulders, whilst Ellie got handed drinks from crowd members and passed them around the stage. Finishing on a true high, the band left the stage, leaving fans to grab what they could – setlists, Ellie’s water bottle, plectrums – and recover from the evening.
What’s most admirable about Wolf Alice is the sheer dedication: from a packed out show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire to 100 people at The Monarch, the energy and showmanship remains totally unfaltering, and refreshingly genuine.