Sunday, 11 May 2014

Live Review: Wolf Alice, Superfood, Gengahr @ Leadmill, Sheffield

Described as a ‘right of passage’ by Franz Ferdinand, touring for upcoming artists wouldn’t be complete without a date at The Leadmill, Sheffield’s longest running live music venue and nightclub. Following the release of single ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ and with an EP release on the horizon, Wolf Alice followed this passage after setting off on a UK tour with support from Superfood and Gengahr.

The night kicked off with support act Gengahr, hailing from London, who filled the room with melodic alternative pop rhythms packed full of glistening harmonies and dreamy undertones. ‘Fill My Gums With Blood’ brought about a feel of summer haziness with echoing vocals while smooth bass-lines, accompanied punchy percussion. With not much material online at present, it’s highly recommended you catch Gengahr live if they make an appearance near you.

Next up were Birmingham quartet Superfood. Known for having a mysterious online presence only recently taking to social media and making just a handful of songs available online, Superfood have grown. They graced the crowd with a set mix of 90s grunge and brit-pop sounds, whilst also not straying far from the slacker melodies and shoe-gaze tracks erupting from the ‘B-town’ music scene.

‘TV’ boasted guitar hook laden rhythms and raw vocals deliver the simplistic repeated lyrics ‘I can never sleep / I can never sleep / I can never sleep without the TV on’. ‘Bubbles’ featured sporadic guitars and punchy percussion coinciding with rough vocals and bouncy bass-lines, contrasting to the self-titled closing track, ‘Superfood’, which presented a swooning chorus full of enthusiasm.

After much anticipation Wolf Alice entered with great stage presence, bursting straight into new release ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’, opening with melancholic guitars, soon accompanied by rock riffs and the vocal hooks of front woman Ellie Rowsell singing ‘ah ah ah ah’. Unreleased track ‘Your Love’s Whore’ delivered similar elements to the aforementioned track also featuring the repeated ah’s of Rowsell, catching the attention of the crowd.

It came as no surprise that the set flitted between the peaceful rhythms and delicate guitars of ‘Blush’ to the fuzzy distorted guitars of ‘She’ and it goes without saying that they pulled it off perfectly. ‘She’ had Rowsell’s vocals switch between delicately husky and early punk reminiscent in seconds and you can see why Wolf Alice have been receiving a lot of attention of present.

Bassist, Theo Ellis, became completely immersed in the performance as they played the festival-esque,  ‘90s reflective, pop hit ‘Bros’, which also proved to be a fan favourite. They encored with the epitome of teenage angst ‘Fluffy’, full of garage sounds and screaming distorted guitars, which, being one of their first releases and knowing it was their last song received the greatest response.

There was no crowd surfing at this gig, which mindful of genre and of Sheffield fans’ usual responses was unexpected.  It may have been down to the nature of the venue and size restrictions, so perhaps on their return; Wolf Alice will play a bigger venue and ignite a bigger crowd reaction.

Words by Ellen Offredy

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