Bournemouth, 60 Million Postcards
8th June 2013
Wolf Alice have been going from strength to strength of late, playing the likes of The Great Escape Festival and being played on radio 1. Louder Than War’s Nyika Suttie followed the hype to Bournemouth to check out the last date of the tour.
“I thought there’d be more postcards” says my friend as we walk into 60 million postcards. And it’s true, there really isn’t 60 million. Yet. There are some good ones though, “I told you Luton wasn’t shit” is a particular good one. Doors were at 8:30pm and we got to have a good look at all the postcards as it seemed to be a long time between then & until we heard any music. Gone 10pm in fact. But finally support act, Best Friends, took the stage.
Best Friends are a lot heavier than you might expect a band called “Best Friends” to be, leaning heavily towards the rock end of indie rock. Their lyrics are mostly joyful but sometimes often jaded, the oddly fragile lead singer often closes his eyes as he sings, juxtaposing delightfully against the heavily pedalled guitar and bass filled interludes. For four skinny-jeaned beanpoles from Sheffield (actually, that’s a lie, the drummer was wearing shorts) they make some fantastic music with Break my Neck and single Surf Bitches being particular favourites of the crowd. Though said crowd was what might be called “intimate”, the gig went down extremely well and compliments could be heard throughout the crowd.
Soon after Best Friends came the main event, Wolf Alice, who comprise of lead singer Ellie Rowsell, guitarist Joff Oddie, Joel Amey on drums and Theo Ellis on bass. They came out quickly and plugged in their instruments, bringing with them a spectacular amount of guitar pedals, even more than Best Friends in fact, and as a slim Rowsell dramatically stood in front of the microphone they began to play.
The band are often described as “fluffy rock” and whilst I can see where they’re coming from, I wonder if this label only applies because of the female vocalist. For apart from Rowsell’s sweet, understated vocals, there’s little fluffy about Wolf Alice, with blinding guitar riffs and drumming that, at a less “intimate” venue, might have inspired a little dancing. They seem to change genres regularly, from grunge rock to mellow rock to full on rock, yet they still sound like the same band. Rowsell has this way of peering mournfully at the audience over her microphone that draws you in, playing songs such as single Bros which are all very well received.
The band is similar in format to Best Friends, even down to both the drummers doing the backing vocals, but they actually sound quite different, complementing rather than contrasting each other.
60 Million Postcards is an interesting little venue, there’s lots of “things” stuck all over the walls, but many of them seem to be Field Day 2009 posters (Micachu and the Shapes anyone?). It’s nice though, set out a little like an American diner, and there’s a cool balcony style display behind the stage. There isn’t much space to stand, making it fortunate that the gig was small. Although being on the same night as the Bournemouth Uni Summer Ball probably didn’t help matters. Drinks are expensive, I paid £4.50 a pint, but I was drinking Fruli so maybe that isn’t a good indicator.
Both Wolf Alice and Best Friends are ones to watch, I see no reason why neither shouldn’t have at least some success. Sometimes you see bands and you just know that you’ve seen something special. I’m hoping this was one of those times.