Concert Review: Wolf Alice / The 1975 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium – St. Paul, MN – May 25th, 2016

Published by JB on May 28, 2016

Blame it on my age gap up against 97% of the crowd (the other 3% were the parents that opted to keep an eye on their children) but it speaks to the unwavering power of the teenage female in which an upstart UK boy band (think Backstreet Brothers with guitars) headline over an NME award winner and Grammy nominee.   But that debate is for another article.  It’s 2016 and ticket sales will trump artistic substance long after I stop typing.  And I’m perfectly OK with that because it’s just music after all.  It’s not like we’re electing a crazy man as President or something.   Oh wait….

No boys allowed! Unless you're in the band of course.

No boys allowed! Unless you’re in the band of course.

Wolf Alice received a surprisingly, boisterous response concluding their all-too-brief 30 minute set from the crowd that was absolutely dominated by females from age 18-22 (see photographic evidence below).   I can only imagine this was the first exposure to Wolf Alice for 95% of the sardined crowd.  Ellie Rowsell and Wolf Alice seemed to turn up the amps and guitar work an extra notch as they raised the bar for what you can cram into 30 minutes.  Their set included all their best:  ‘Bros’, ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’, ’90 Mile Beach’ and four more tracks that made them sound like Nirvana compared to the 1975 set.

Wolf Alice are an outstanding band that can hopefully gather a few fans from the 1975 fanbase.   Their 2015 album My Love is Cool was arguably the best indie rock album of the year and their upside here is still escalating.   It was a 30 minute set that had a “God, I wish I could see them in a theater for 75 minutes” written all over it.   They live up to every expectation and exceed it with ease.

The 1975 are everything the crowd wanted them to be; reasonably cute, bouncy, playful, cheerful and keenly aware of their surroundings (i.e., lead singer Matthew Healy adorned a Replacements t-shirt in homage to the hometown indie rock icons from the 80’s).  In fact every member of the band seemed to play guitar at some point but that’s where the comparisons to the Replacements end rapidly.

The longevity of the 1975 will be their hurdle.   Unless they possess the skills and talents of Justin Timberlake they’re eventually doomed into oblivion as they reach their early 30’s and their current fan club devotees have kids of their own and move onto bigger, badder music; um, like maybe Wolf Alice?!



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