by Emily Duff
As I stepped into the O2 Academy, I was greeted by overflowing crowds battling to get the best view. With everyone walking past either dressed like they’re in an episode of Euphoria with glitter smeared everywhere or a punk rocker with mullet haircuts and an abundance of head-to-toe denim or leather jackets.
When I arrived, I was just in time to catch the final song from Matt Maltese. “As the World Caves in” echoed throughout the venue - a hauntingly beautiful track reminiscent of Radiohead’s Motion Picture Soundtrack with its moody, movie soundtrack style. Maltese penned the song in 2016, shortly after Theresa May won the vote to renew the UK's Trident nuclear weapon and that bitterness can really be heard in his voice - especially going on to discover its plot of hinging around the idea of a night of passion between Theresa May (the UK Prime Minister at the time) and Donald Trump (the US President at the time). This has since been revoked and replaced with a more general apocalyptic feeling - but still a humorous beginning nonetheless.
Starting with beautiful piano chords and moody stage lighting, the line “It’s you that I lie with” creates a pink lighting shift over Maltese. This shift continued on each line to orange and purple and blue and around the colours of the rainbow to create a more interesting syncopated effect than the usual stillness or strobe options.
Suddenly the band noticed a crowd member seemed to collapse in the crowd. Close to the barrier, thankfully the light caught them and allowed Wolf Alice to call out the incident. However, to my surprise, they quickly began playing.
Initially thinking they were able to continue, they realised that the lights had dimmed along with their track beginning. Agin, they thoughtfully stopped to let staff remove the person from the crowd and ensure their safety - something I hope all bands do in future. Noticing your fans are safe and comfortable is a big part of the performance. Ignorance is easy to brush off for various reasons such as lighting, distance or focus but at the end of the day, noticing these details and doing what can be done to help is more important than the flow of tracks.
Although incurring a little delay - it was 100% worth it for the safety of their fans. Waiting for the thumbs up from all staff before playing, the security continued to pass water out as the next song started up
‘Visions of A Life’ had both the guitarist (Joff) and the more meek Theo (bass) on the edge of the stage. This then quickly moved to ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ which seemed to give everyone in the building a sudden energy rush. Wolf Alice had been clever and had saved up for this song. Bouncing immediately began within the crowd from the very first guitar chord in this track and a visual sudden surge toward the stage was made. From an older album, My Love Is Cool, I can’t see this being removed from a setlist anytime soon.
Then, moving back to their newest tracks again, ‘No Hard Feelings’ changed the lighting to a blackout across the crowd. Mirroring the opening of the gig, the passion and subtle sadness could be heard echoing throughout. The emotion behind lyrics like “When it was tough to hear your name / Crying in the bathtub / To "Love Is A Losing Game"” perfectly exemplifies the Amy Winehouse style melancholy of this track