At first, it’s not quite the bombastic triumph that Wolf Alice deserve, over on the Park Stage. Last night they had thousands packed into a tiny tent, and that was just from word-of-mouth. Today there’s been a mix-up. The official programme says Benjamin Booker is playing the 5pm slot, so it’s only midway through their early evening set that loyal fans turn up in their disoriented droves. Far from the feverish anticipation that’s been latching onto a band on the brink of a Number One album, it takes serious time before word spreads about their actual set time. But trust Wolf Alice to turn it around.
Not only is the programme (and half the crowd) muddled. BFF’s Peace are packing out the John Peel tent, and that’s in part because it’s pissing it down. Everything seems to be against Wolf Alice today, but it was never going to be that simple.
Things change when the storm sets in. ‘Lisbon’ is the perfect soundtrack to drenched ponchos, and it actually takes a wave of rain to wake up an otherwise sleepy audience. By this point, things get into a stride. What looked to be an impossible task gets transformed into a bizarre triumph. If anyone can do it, it’s this lot.
Oldies like ‘She’ are a potent reminder that they’re not just some out-of-the-blue sensation - Wolf Alice have been a special band for some time. As they close, switching despondent Benjamin Booker fans into mates for life, bassist Theo Ellis declares: “This is literally a dream come true.” Ellie Rowsell crowdsurfs for the first time in her life. It’s their ability to thrive in any circumstance that allows Wolf Alice to stand out in a pack.
Photos: Emma Swann / DIY
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