Wolf Alice frontwoman Ellie Rowsell midsong blue lighting. She is wearing a black trouser suit and holding a black electric guita
Credit: 48 Hills

Review: Wolf Alice @ Barrowland Ballroom

By Monica Brotherton

Sparks fly and passion reaches fever-pitch at Wolf Alice’s Valentine’s Day concert.

Wolf Alice’s three rescheduled nights at the Barrowlands were devoured by starving fans. Previously meant to be attending on the 5 January, I was amused that the reschedule meant I would spend a third Valentine’s Day at a concert. The very last concert I had attended, mere weeks before corona struck, was Lewis Capaldi in Amsterdam on Valentine’s 2020. My primary memory was how easy the Glaswegian fans were to spot in the international crowd. Spoiler alert: they were the one’s going fucking mental. There was no ferocious “here we fucking go” chant, and not quite as much uninhibited dancing from the Amsterdam natives. Amsterdammers just didn’t release as much unbridled passion and I left that night missing Glasgow.

Years of regulations, reschedules and cancellations stalled my return to Glasgow’s crowds. But on a suitably Glaswegian wet and windy Valentine’s Day, we met again. Anticipation surged around the venue, the Barrowlands iconic lights shimmering on the rain-splattered pavements. Climbing the stairs and ordering too many drinks, we were thirstily waiting. We didn’t have to wait long. Glasgow’s own Lucia & The Best Boys battled the eager crowd first. I must rather shamefully confess; I’ve never listened to them before. I’ve heard them now and they made sure that I’ll struggle to stop listening. Lucia Fairfull made a formidable frontwoman, bewitching both the stage and audience. She performed like a Florence Welch progeny, all twisting arms and sultry voice. The crowd was enraptured to sing along even if they, like myself, did not really know the words yet. Although this was a Wolf Alice concert, Lucia & The Best Boys more than earned an honourable mention in this article. Do yourself a favour and listen to Summertime or Blueheart if you haven’t already. 

“She performed like a Florence Welch progeny, all twisting arms and sultry voice.”

By now the crowd was blazing. There’s always a pulsing energy when the support act leaves and the crowd knows it’s not long now. Lucia was impressive but most people were, of course, here for Wolf Alice. The newly crowned best group at the 2022 Brit Awards have had a fantastic year. Their third studio album Blue Weekend has been lavished with critical acclaim, and their 2017 single Don’t Delete the Kisses has enjoyed surprising revitalisation on TikTok. Glasgow was more than ready to gorge their lauded tunes. I found myself increasingly shoved to the front, feeling the feverish crowd gathering at my back. “Here we fucking go” rang out and, my god, it was good to be back. 

Opening with the dynamic Smile, the band immediately assaulted the audience with magnificent strobe lights, pounding drums and pure passion. Glasgow’s drizzle clearly couldn’t damper the electrifying Wolf Alice. The band roared tune after tune and the crowd roared back. Stage lights hardened all of their punchy performance and it was evident that Wolf Alice, like their namesake, have forged an independent identity. They know who they are and what the audience wants. Safe from a Heart Break (If You Never Fall in Love) gave the crowd a chance to catch their breath before Play the Greatest Hits encouraged a ferocious mosh pit. The crowd roared for “one more tune” and Wolf Alice’s magnetic Valentine’s performance concluded with The Last Man on Earth and Don’t Delete the Kisses. Wolf Alice are a band worth seeing live, but if you can see them anywhere, do try to make it the unparalleled Glasgow. 


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