If you havent figured it out by now, retro rock is back, and in a very big way. Why you ask? Theres a generation thats grown up listening to baby boomers tell us how cool their day was, and how we all missed out and are shit out of luck. That generation has since taken the music from 30 to 40 years ago (thats been pounded into our brain as the best there ever was), and turned it into our own amalgamation of everything that made rock awesome all those decades ago.
Last night’s show with 70s proto-metal revivalists Wolfmother was a way for those born a decade or more too late to revel in the magic of the over the top rock show. From Townshend-inspired windmills to an explosive finale that saw the set up destroyed, Wolfmother, in all their rock goodness, are back in a big way.
Cosmic Egg, the group’s latest record, means theyve dodged the one hit wonder bullet. What’s more, Andrew Stockdale’s decision to reform with a new band was a far smarter move than some were willing to give him credit for. Now as a four piece, Stockdale has assembled a tight nit crew that could have easily been there from the beginning, at least judging from the way they flawlessly pulled it together.
Naturally, the rehearsed songs sounded great — and they even took requests, much to the crowd’s surprise. When it was time for Apple Tree, a song they admitted hadnt been played live yet, the band shrugged, smiled, and just went for it. The crowd ate it up. It was as if there was no change, making Wolfmother 2.0 an actual improvement from its first round as a three piece. Its Stockdales show, sure, but that didnt stop the rest of the guys from letting loose and making a scene of their own.
An extra guitar meant last night’s show was loud as hell. Kicking things off with Dimension, the set was a mix of new and old tracks. California Queen, off the new record, fit right in with old staples like the revamped Woman, which added some cowbell for a Walken-approved hair-raiser. Hitting that one early on meant more room for fun without the expectation of an obvious encore. Its a great track, but there is so much more that this band has to offer.
White Unicorn saw a little bit of chaos in the crowd with two line backer sized dudes deciding to wrestle around with their fists. 9:30 Club’s legendary bouncer Josh broke it up very quickly, right in time for the fiery guitar and key solos. Colossal proved once again that some one owes a royalty check to Black Sabbath, but was just as sludgy and dark as ever.
As the show blazed on, you could tell that the audience was still getting used to the new material. 10,000 Feet, country rocker In the Morning, and even Cosmic Egg gathered mixed reactions over the older, more ambitious material. It makes sense though, because live, it was the older tracks that were heavier and filled with the extended jams that fans have latched on to overtime. Stockdale also seemed to be having much more fun with them as well, teasing the crowd with dance moves and smiles.
The only out of place moment came during an acoustic Kate Bush cover that was more awkward than anything else. It was made up for however with two more rowdy rockers, Cosmic Egg and the one they had all been waiting for, Joker and the Thief. The show ended after nearly two hours of an unapologetic Led Sabbath storm with a huge bang. Ian Peres jumped on his keys, looking like [The Muppet Show‘s] Animal as his long curly locks flailed, and Stockdale ripped his guitar strings out and swung it around by his teeth. Aiden Nemeth took his guitar to Dave Atkins kit, and in the end we, and the stage, were a sweaty destroyed mess.
Sure most of us were born 15 years too late to see when this stuff was first done, but it doesnt mean its still not cool now. Wolfmother delivered above and beyond a must see rock show thats hard to find anywhere else. Sure its 2009, but sometimes we wish it was 1975, and Wolfmother 2.0 gave it to us straight up with a shot of “kick ass.”