(written for thelineofbestfit.com by me)
“Wu Lyf is nothing…They are not for sale, they have no cash flow or value. The Lyf is strength in numbers…Lost brothers looking for a place to call home, in return for your hard earned currency our home is yours.”
The clock struck 9:30 pm, where a significant moment in London’s music history was about to take place: Wu Lyf were about to play their first London gig. The room was packed, laden with the smell of stale-tequila, sweat and cigarettes. Music industry snobs and vintage-adorned twenty-somethings silently stood there, sipping on their largely overpriced beers in anticipation of what was to come. A broken disco ball hung from the ceiling, a simple black cross with the word ‘Lyf’ was all that decorated the stage and fragments of their song lyrics were plastered all over the walls. The simplicity and acknowledgement of everything; sight, sounds, smells – it all isolated you in this tightly packed space, as for one hour it felt like this was all that existed…this was your world.
The set began with ‘Lucifer Calling’, Ellery Roberts’ aching odes of disgruntled yearning braced the silence, leaving individuals transfixed, and moving religiously to each drum beat. As people began to move more, temperatures rose and the thought of breaking out in sweat was inevitable. Only a couple songs into their set were you met with three out of the four band members topless. “You don’t usually see this so early on in the set”, Ellery said, only to be met with estranged cries of “Fucking Northerners” from some drunkards in the corner who were dismissed by the avid fans in the crowd: “ Shut up!”
The room went dark and the words shouting “Say 1, 2, 3, 4…quickly” were the only guide one’s senses had. People mumbled distorted rhythms of numbers…Nothing was clear at this point. “Fuck it…! 1, 2, 3, 4,” shouted Ellery as he launched into ‘Such A Sad Puppy Dog’. Smoke blew from the machines fixed to the ceiling and a bright white light explored and intruded the audience, blinding people in its path. The beating of the drums, the straining of the guitar strings and the growl–like vocals were evolving in its melodic and tribal qualities. The song finished with a bang, applause reigned in from the audience, with each band member appreciating each clap of the hand. They all looked at each other – again, silence…
As the applause slowly began to fade out, the band began to clap. This clap merged with the audience’s, somewhat awkward… then, out of nowhere, this clap found itself a rhythm, a rhythm which formed the base for the next song. It was here that one was able to experience the excitement of musical genius, being able to create something, unknowingly, out of nothing. It was time for the much blogged about track ‘Heavy Pop’, and the few teenagers in the audience gathered together to form a mosh pit. Everything was just as it should be, but as the song reached its end, people were hungry for more. “Encore, Encore”, “Play anything, play the same song twice”, the sheer desperation simply proves the greatness of this band to captivate its audience; and boy were we in for a treat. Wu Lyf were about to improvise a cover of Willow Smith’s ‘I Whip My Hair Back and Forth’. Ellery moved to the front of the stage and sat cross-legged, directly facing the audience, from which evolved the drawn out lyrics “I…whip…my…hair…back…and…forth”, the absence of drums and focus on the guitar made it all that more powerful, the song developing a meaning despite the already written image of a 9-year-old smashing her head around. This was the first time when listening to this song that I didn’t feel like whipping my hair back and forth into a wall, and the clarity the song pursued, along with an intrepid guitar solo, was not short of heavenly.
To put it bluntly: they kicked ass.