Wolf Alice have always been a band comfortable flickering between light and dark. Dialling it up between loud and quiet, they’ve always been an unpredictable beast but after a summer bouncing from huge stadium shows to countless festivals around the world, tonight anything goes.
Wolf Alice making the step up to headline the Radio One stage at Reading Festival is something that’s been on the cards pretty much since the word go. They’ve always been pegged as Future Headliners by other people and since the release of ‘Visions Of A Life’, they’ve carried themselves with a similar, if unspoken, belief. Still, from the dream haze introduction and the fact the gang is lit up one by one, tonight still has that smirking, unpredictable edge. ‘Your Loves Whore’ is deep-rooted and beautiful, and standing on the shoulders of giants, poise and intimacy before the strobe-attack of ‘Yuk Foo’ charges with a renewed, unforgiving roar.
Drawing lines in the muck, Wolf Alice spend the rest of the set dancing to their own rules. ‘You’re A Germ’ sneers and chuckles, ‘St. Purple & Green’ looks up to the heavens and questions more while the rolling shapeshift of ‘Visions Of A Life’ bellows, whispers and talks truth. An Epic under any other band, Wolf Alice are charged with too much energy, excitement and frustration to be bogged down in slowly unfurling cinema.
Their set still has plenty of blockbuster moments though. ‘Bros’ continues to capture a special sort of adoration, simple but forever green. It’s the sort of track that soundtracks those moments you’ll remember forever, whether alone and through headphones or surrounded by friends and strangers in a field and tonight, it’s a firework that burns on and on. ‘Giant Peach’ trembles with a last-chance-saloon recklessness and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ is a slow dance of escape and understanding.
It’s the glitterball explosion of ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ that really steals the show though. Already an anthem of love, hope and fearless surrender, tonight it starts with a proposal. When she says yes, the band erupt. It’s genuine, wholehearted joy that doesn’t care if anybody is watching. Losing themselves for a moment inspires the same from the crowd. “We’ve all been fifteen years old and standing in this tent so playing this slot means the world to us,” grins Theo a moment later. You believe it. And not just because Wolf Alice are a band you know on a first names basis. They inspire this connection, tonight and always. They’re a band to trust, a band to rely on, a band that curate belief. This evening is a powerful showing of how much they can do, how far they can go. It’s a intimate celebration between four friends played out on one of the biggest stages. Over a year into a touring cycle that just hasn’t stopped, tonight’s show is still treated with care, love and affection because Wolf Alice don’t know any different.
It’s why, one day, they’re going to headline this whole thing.
Words: Ali Shutler