Archive | January, 2013

Review: Wolf Alice – Old Blue Last – 7th January 2013

13 Jan

Wolf Alice 2

Hello 2013. So is called a series of gigs held at the legendary Old Blue Last pub in Shoreditch to hail in a new era of music. And it’s no coincidence that Wolf Alice were chosen to headline a line-up that includes Deathrays of Ardilla and Syron.

Since mid-2012 the band has gradually ascended, initially with a SoundCloud release ‘Leaving You’. A feature in NME’s new music section ‘Radar’, some wild nattering amongst bloggers, a bunch of gigs in and around Southern England; and now headlining not only the OBL, but supporting Peace (recently signed to Columbia) at the NME Awards Tour in a couple of months. Not bad when you consider that one year ago Wolf Alice hardly had any band members, nor any polished songs.

So what about them? I say ‘them’ to be polite, but really Wolf Alice is all about the lead man (or woman in this case), Ellie Rowsell. Chiselled cheekbones, plump lips, fair ‘alice-in-wonderland’ skin, she possesses the demure of a 1980s film star. A couple of years ago she had a solo SoundCloud page and if you look at some earlier Wolf Alice performances, she can be seen singing a country-like number called ‘Sticks n’ Stones’. But what a difference two years make; and this is ever more evident as I stood in the OBL watching her sing with a little bit more than Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) about her.

Undoubtedly a talented writer as well as musician, Rowsell looks just as good singing ballads and slow numbers, to screaming-in-the-mic, post-punk material. Look at the online material and you get more than a whiff of a band that just doeWolf Alice 5sn’t realise how good they are, nor how much potential they have. They’ve gone through a few changes and band-member additions; not least their sound has evolved massively. The latest single, ‘Fluffy’ pays testament to the band’s growing musical maturity in the past six months alone. With riff-based, highly-catchy songs, I suspect that Wolf Alice is the best thing to happen to UK post-punk scene since the 90s.

Clearly everybody knows this. Playing to a packed room in what was undoubtedly the first major A&R scram of the year, the foursome played a short and powerful set. Here was a band that looked so natural on stage, they could have as easily been playing at Glasto. A casual glance across to one another during songs, helping out when microphones wouldn’t work. It just came together. Good-intentions aside, Old Blue Last, forget 2013: Wolf Alice is possibly the most exciting band to come out of the UK in the past decade.

Wolf Alice 3

Have a listen to an iPhone recording of the set:


‘I Wanna Be Adored’ by the Stone Roses: Comment

6 Jan

I have never really been much of a fan of the Stone Roses. But, listening again to the 1989 song ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ I am intrigued by the opening bass line (Gary Mounfield’s signature, I understand); the haunting melody guitar melody in the distance.  Drums at 1:12; then the subtle build-up to the entrance of electric guitars at 1:30.

Reading the lyrics, it’s hard even for someone who writes poetry to discern their underlying meaning:

‘I don’t have to sell my soul/ He’s already in me.’

This is repeated three times.

Is Ian Brown referring to the fact that he doesn’t have to sell his soul to be ‘adored’ (as the title of the song would suggest)? This then conflicts with the song’s repetition of the phrase,

I wanna be adored’

Structurally, the song progresses from this psychic, trance-like melody into something deeper, more rock-like. Its underlying tone is one of quiet desperation gradually becoming fully-blown self-definition.

On the one hand, the ambiguous person wants to be ‘adored‘ but at the same time he is adored:

You adore me’.

This is an alternation between wanting to be loved and being loved. From the beginning you get the impression, with the earthly organic notes that define the song’s beginning, to the harder guitar riffs towards the end, that the point of the song is to be loved and adored as oneself. That’s without the need to lose anything of who you are.

© All rights to song lyrics reproduced here are with Stone Roses estate management (Ian George Brown, John Squire) etc. Removal of any material considered in breach of copyright can be requested at any time.  Email:

Live Review: Jaguar

1 Jan

Venue: Old Blue Last, London.

Date: 29th December 2012.

Image: Crash Alternative Music Blog

Image: Crash Alternative Music Blog

With the addition of new bassist Simon Patel in 2006, the newly-reformed Jaguar seemed to have  had a somewhat sporadic return. They’ve played just a handful of venues and festivals over the years, including the Astoria London and Thrash ‘ Till Death festival in Germany, but beyond this their presence has been muted ever since the band folded with their second album This Time (1984). Despite reforming and remoulding several times, they have never been able to replicate the success of their earliest days.

It must have been quite a surprise to long-time Jaguar fans, then, to see the band live in Shoreditch. Musically, it was very easy to see the appeal. Playing several numbers from the band’s original album ‘Power Games’, as well as some very good new material (‘No Lies’, ‘War Machine’) the composition was classic heavy-metal. Lead singer Jamie Manton was interacting and talking with the packed room as if he was having a beer down the local.  The devoted crowd must have loved him because by the end of the set, he was crowd-surfing around the room. There’s not much about Jaguar on the web at the moment – they are yet to get going on the social media side of things – but it will be interesting to see if they can reinvent themselves for 2013.

Have a listen to the set here: