Wolf Alice and Everything Everything both played absolutely stellar sets yesterday afternoon (29 August) in the NME/Radio 1 tent at Reading 2015.
With a No.2 album under their belt and the world on their side, Wolf Alice sprinted onto the stage not wanting to waste a single second that could be used playing tunes from their incredible debut, My Love Is Cool.
A few tracks in, frontwoman Ellie Rowsell addressed the crowd: “I love you guys already, this is going to be fun”, before launching into their most recent single ‘You’re A Germ’. Wolf Alice have always had a ferocious live set but we don’t think we’ve ever heard them like this.
The track scorched with a palpable heat, using the crowds energy as fuel. As Rowsell screeched, the track intensified, and after every ascending count up to seven before the chorus, the non-believers in the audience became instantly involved - especially on ‘Bros’ where many hugs were shared, and the crowd embraced one another.
Songs old and new were lapped up by the full-to-the-brim tent. The crowd knew every word, every vocal quirk, every breakdown and every subtle drum fill - it was almost disconcerting how in tune and locked into the grooves the audience were. Wolf Alice stopped being a quartet and grew into a thousands-strong musical group.
The set ended with a ‘Giant Peach’/‘Moaning Lisa Smile' double, rife with feedback-driven riffs and breakdowns. If we learnt anything from Wolf Alice’s set, it’s the importance of keeping the energy levels peaking, even when the Saturday afternoon lethargy strikes.
There was very little crowd movement as the former Wolf Alice dedicators freed themselves of their grunge attitudes and adapted to a more danceable environment.
Wearing matching jackets, their dress sense is the only uniform aspect of Everything Everything, a band whose respective personalities make up their wiry and submerging ilk of art-pop. Kicking off their set with the first track from their critically acclaimed new album, Get To Heaven, ‘To The Blade’ was a jolt to the heart to either rekindle your desire to give their record another listen, or cement the standard that we’ve come to expect from Everything Everything.
The most admirable thing about this Manchester group, besides their infectious hooks and zany aesthetic, is their musicianship. While their technical abilities as players is evident on EE’s recordings, it can’t be properly realised until witnessed live. Between the masterful drumming on a track like ‘Distant Past’ and the shredding outro of ‘Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread’, whether you’re a musician or not, it’s hard to get your head around the calibre at which this band are operating.
And as much can be said for singer Jonathan Higgs - he is truly a personality frontman. Between his expressive and left-field lyrics and eclectic vocal delivery, he possessed an almost maniacal look in this eyes, his onstage movements as unpredictable as his vocal patterns. Higgs’ ability to manipulate range and sustain notes is incomparable in a live setting.
The new material sounded as polished and as locked down as the tracks that have been frequented at Everything Everything shows for years now. We had to miss Royal Blood to see them, do we ‘Regret’ it? Absolutely not.