Review: Wolf Alice's return to UEA is electric, joyous, visceral

Ellie Roswell, lead vocalist of Wolf Alice, performing at the UEA's LCR on the 26th of February 2022

Ellie Roswell, lead vocalist of Wolf Alice, performing at the University of East Anglia's LCR in Norwich on the 26th of February 2022 - Credit: Ben Prudence

If anyone wasn't convinced of Wolf Alice's cult star status, their roaring return to the LCR in Norwich will have put those doubts to bed.

Flying on the coat tails of their third album Blue Weekend, which has received rave reviews and debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, Wolf Alice took to the UEA stage with clear and intoxicating confidence.

Joff Oddie on guitar for Wolf Alice performing at the University of East Anglia's LCR in Norwich on the 26th of February 2022

Joff Oddie on guitar for Wolf Alice performing at the University of East Anglia's LCR in Norwich on the 26th of February 2022 - Credit: Ben Prudence

The London-based band are no strangers to Norwich - they first played the LCR in 2016, then again in 2017. Now, in 2022, they have an evolved, mature, and playful stage presence.

After a fantastic set from support act Matt Maltese, who sent my heart rate through the roof by playing the start of the Succession theme tune completely out of the blue, Wolf Alice arrived.

Ellie Roswell, lead singer of Wolf Alice, performing at the LCR in Norwich on the 26th of February 2022

Ellie Roswell, lead vocalist of Wolf Alice, performing at the University of East Anglia's LCR in Norwich on the 26th of February 2022 - Credit: Ben Prudence

The first few songs seemed to explode from them with a visceral energy. Opener 'Smile', leaning towards the rock side of their repertoire, elicited joyful screams from the audience, and for good reason. Wolf Alice's lyrics are made for shouting at the top of your lungs: "I ain't ashamed in the fact that I'm sensitive/I believe it is the perfect adjective."

Ellie Roswell, lead vocalist of Wolf Alice, performing at the LCR in Norwich on the 26th of February 2022

Ellie Roswell, lead vocalist of Wolf Alice, performing at the University of East Anglia's LCR in Norwich on the 26th of February 2022 - Credit: Ben Prudence

Having never seen Wolf Alice before, I was intrigued as to how they would balance the tonal shifts from floaty, emotional, romantic ballads to loud, angry, rhythm-led songs. They handled it with skill- allowing the weight of lyrics to sit just long enough before launching into a different song. What neared a two hour performance felt much shorter.

Theo Ellis on bass for Wolf Alice, performing at the University of East Anglia's LCR in Norwich on the 26th of February 2022

Theo Ellis on bass for Wolf Alice, performing at the University of East Anglia's LCR in Norwich on the 26th of February 2022 - Credit: Ben Prudence

One of the highlights, however, was 17 year old fan Lauren being hauled onto the stage after offering to to take over guitar from Ellie Rowsell for 'Moaning Lisa Smile'. Both the audiences and the band members were not expecting Lauren to shred as fantastically as she did. We  all collectively basked, laughing and whooping, in our surprise and awe.

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It is clear as day that Wolf Alice are performers by nature. Onstage, they have the charisma and personality of an already well-established classic rock band, who have somehow been picked up and plonked into the modern day. And what luck for us, the eager listeners, that they were.

Mercury-prize winning indie rock band Wolf Alice performing at the LCR in Norwich on the 26th of February 2022

Mercury-prize winning indie rock band Wolf Alice performing at the University of East Anglia's LCR in Norwich on the 26th of February 2022 - Credit: Ben Prudence