Markontour is getting used to being in the older quartile of any given concert audience, but on the Overground to Ally Pally to see Wolf Alice last Friday I realised that most of the other gig-goers were still at school. In between discussing their university choices and what time they needed to be home, a mock argument broke out about who had bagged the most impressive selfie with a celebrity. A lad who had an Instagram account laden with images of himself sharing a beer with Theo from the nights headline act appeared to be top dog, until a girl casually mentioned that she had gained a hug from Jeremy Corbyn. Silence ensued for a second, followed by a chorus of “wow!” and general agreement that nothing could beat that.
Pleasurable though this eavesdropping was, I had to switch off at this point because my ageing brain needed full concentration to decipher an exchange I was having with a Twickets contact I was due to meet a few minutes later. For anyone who hasn’t used Twickets, it’s a wonderful service that allows genuine music fans to buy and sell spare tickets at face-value or less, avoiding unscrupulous touts. I had listed a couple of spare Wolf Alice tickets whilst making breakfast that morning and by the time the kettle had boiled they had sold. Now I had to make a rendevous to hand them over. Thus ensued a text conversation that has enlarged my understanding of English vernacular:
Buyer: “Hi, bought the tickets off ya for tonite. I’ll call ya up when I get to ally pally. Is that sweet?”
Markontour: [working on the principle that all things sweet are good] “Great. I’ll be there 7.30pm”
Buyer at 7.30pm [not realising that a markontour “7.30pm” could mean many things, but almost certainly not that I will be there at 7.30pm]: “Hi, just got here in the Phoenix pub at the venue”
Markontour: “OK. I’m about 10 mins away”
Buyer: “Mustard, text me when you are in the gaff”
Markontour: [20 minutes later and masking perturbation that condiments have now been brought into the transaction] “Arrived. Am wearing a tan leather jacket and black pork pie hat”
Buyer [in person in the Phoenix and in a very loud voice]: “Hey! That’s what a pork pie hat looks like! How ya doin’ geezer?”
And so to Wolf Alice. To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie, this is a review about Wolf Alice. I loved this band from the first time I heard them. The lyrics are snappy and the gloom rock sound is somewhere between The Cure and Belly. The guitarist and bassist bounce around the stage from the first beat, encouraging a decent attempt at a mosh (although obviously not to 1990s Rock City standards). A fanatical crowd that already knows all the words to the new songs whips up an atmosphere that tells us we are witnessing something special. Lead singer, Ellie Rowsell, floats above it all, conveying an ethereal beauty backed up by dock martens and a look that suggests she could take on all-comers. Mustard.