Wolfmother | 11.26.06

Aside from front man Stockdale's antics—such as hanging from the ceiling beams—I found myself watching bassist/organist Chris Ross switch between the two instruments and playing with a furor I'd never before seen from a bass player.

 

Mississippi Nights, St. Louis

Recipe for success:

2 parts Led Zeppelin

1 part Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne

1 part Deep Purple

A splash of Jack White

Sprinkle the top with some fantasy dust (think LOTR, D&D, or Final Fantasy)

Holy Houses of the Holy, Batman! Whoever said time travel was impossible clearly hasn't been introduced to Wolfmother. While this may not be a tribute band, Wolfmother is making no bones about which bands have influenced them. Their audience tells the story for you. Sandwiched somewhere between the kids in their Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Jimi Hendrix fake concert t-shirts and the older crowd who were probably at those concerts, I survived a night of air guitar, air drums, and lots of sweat (some of which wasn't my own, unfortunately).

Wolfmother probably played one of the most energetic, most rocking shows of the year. You can't deny that. I was sick, deaf, and still had to wear ear plugs! That alone says something about the band. Led by vocalist/guitarist Andrew Stockdale, the band came out like a tornado, taking down everything in their path and leaving mass destruction in their wake. As soon as the first song kicked in, the crowd let it go. If the band was feeding off the energy from the crowd, it only magnified an already stellar live show. Opening up with "Dimension," there was no need to convince the crowd of their abilities-they came in as believers. By the time the band kicked into "White Unicorn," four songs into the set, the crowd had been worked into a frenzy and wasn't about to let that energy cease. Aside from front man Stockdale's antics—such as hanging from the ceiling beams—I found myself watching bassist/organist Chris Ross switch between the two instruments and playing with a furor I'd never before seen from a bass player. After closing the encore with current single, "Joker and the Thief," the crowd stumbled out of the steamy venue, high-fiving and already recollecting moments from the show to their friends.

While I did find the band's high energy show very entertaining, I still found a few flaws that reminded me that, unlike the bands that have influenced them, Wolfmother is a young band with a lot to learn. There was a bit of downtime between songs that, at times, seemed awkward and confusing. Towards the end of the set, Wolfmother invigorated the crowd with a super extended version of their hit single, "Woman." While it seemed as if this was the last song of the set prior to the encore, they finished and, instead of marching off stage in true rock star fashion, they stood there, paused, retuned, and kicked into what turned out to be the real set ender. With a buildup like that, you can't really stop and play another song.

The band recovered fully during the encore, rewarding the audience with three more songs, including a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown." Usually I don't mind covers when it comes to younger bands playing shows-they only have so many songs and need enough material for a whole set. But when your band is constantly being referred to as the second coming of Led Zeppelin, do you really want to prove them right and include a cover of said band? Myself, not very familiar with Wolfmother's entire album, actually sat there debating for the first minute and half or so if it was indeed a cover of Zeppelin or a Zeppelin rip-off. That's not a good thing. Covers are supposed to be obvious and not something that just blends in to the rest of your set.

For the older folks at the show, this was one hell of a throwback to the music they grew up listening to. Wolfmother is definitely bringing back the rock of old and breathing new life into it. For the younger crowd, this will be the closest they get to actually seeing bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Deep Purple, and Hendrix. All around, young and old, there was a general consensus that everyone just laid witness to the new face of rock. | Kiernan Scrima

 

 

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