Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Wolfmother at the Black Cat: Hot Damn


Wolfmother
Originally uploaded by amauriaguiar.
A few weeks ago, one of my Australian friends called. She'd read that I was going to see Wolfmother at the Black Cat tonight and had a few words to say about it.

"Listen, this isn't just some fucking pissweak indie band like you see at the fucking Black Cat, right? These fuckas, they don't stand there in their high-water pants and just you know, look at their fucking shoes and sort of apologize for having a sex drive in between their songs about their ex fucking girlfriends. This is a rehearsed band, like Led fucking Zeppelin or Sabbath -- this is real rock music, right, so get yourself ready!"


She may have cursed a little more, but you get the point. And as it turns out, she wasn't exaggerating at all. Wolfmother rocked like no band I've ever seen before, and doubt I'll see again. Their music is thundering, trippy, and completely lacking any sort of self-conscious irony.

I had to buy tickets from a Craigslist scalper. He ran the price of the sold-out show up to $30 per ticket, which stung -- but not so bad that I wanted to miss the show. But still: why only raise a ticket price 15 bucks?

Is it a jerk move to buy tickets for resale? And at such a tiny profit margin? I mean, I paid it willingly, so I can't blame him too much ... I was part of the supply and demand equation. And I got an AWESOME experience out of it. The next time Wolfmother comes to DC, they'll be packing out the 930 club for two shows in a row. Or playing the Nissan Pavilion. They're heading up there, and fast.

They have moves, real moves onstage that don't feel like pre-rehearsed moves, moves that heighten the drama and FUN of big, HUGE loud rock music. Lingering arms in the air, giant handclaps, beckoning the crowd to give it up with applause and shouts right before the band slams back in from a pseudo-Floyd instrumental break -- these moves aren't just showbiz -- they're the real rock stuff, heightened for maximum effect.

Wolfmother does what Aussie bands do best: they don't innovate anything at all, just take pre-existing sounds and ideas and max them out, making them more bad-ass than you can imagine. Look at AC/DC, INXS, the Vines: not inventors -- just refiners of serious badassery. Wolfmother plays music reminiscent of the first wave of heavy metal -- Sabbath, Zeppelin, Cream, Deep Purple -- with a bit of Pink Floyd in there for measure. But the thing is, all those bands showed their blues influences. Wolfmother is definitely in line with that awesome musical lineage -- but shows no direct influence of the blues whatsoever.

The crowd was perfect. Everyone was there, including That Dude and all his homeboys. You know That Dude. He goes to all the metal shows, stands up near the front and hits on at least eight of the ten women that ever go to metal shows. He throws his rap until one of his boys show up and they both transform into the That Dude's alter ego: Shirts Off.

That Dude and Shirts Off sure did start a good old-fashioned mosh pit, too. I haven't seen one of those in years, and haven't cared to be in one for even longer -- but knowing that I was at a show with a real live mosh pit and clapping and kids getting passed around... YES.

I think Wolfmother played their whole freaking album, and then some. They did it all so perfectly -- the claps, the big finishes, the encore, and got us out by midnight. Hot damn.

Here's a few videos to tide you over: Woman, and White Unicorn.




4 Comments:

At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before you go relabelling Australian work as redone, lets say that when I was in DC I didn’t see a band that wasn’t reclaiming someone else’s work, just twisted and I must say that it bored me to tears. Why is the showman in music disappeared, isn’t it a creative discipline? Why does America find it so hard to congratulate another country for doing something better? Have you had an original idea recently? Maybe some fresh air outside your incubated is needed. The world is full of things that you could rename your own.

Love your Australian friend.

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger Jeff Simmermon said...

You have a really good point here. I certainly didn't mean to call Aussie work re-done at all. I meant to convey that it's vastly improved, if anything. And yeah, Wolfmother revamps some themes that were established by some seriously amazing bands -- who weren't American in the first place. So we can't lay claim to that, either.

Their sense of showmanship is spectacular-- and a definite contrast to the stale hipster scene happening in DC at the moment.

 
At 5:46 PM, Blogger Nics said...

Wolfmother are one band that I'm seriously excited to see, unfortunately I haven't been able to see them yet but if they come to Northern Ireland I will be there with bells on. Or not as the case may be, but what I've heard of them is fantastic. I would still recommend Maximo Park though, they're not as hardcore rock but their frontman is a real showman and their album isn't too bad either.

 
At 5:18 PM, Blogger Capt. Jack Sparrow said...

You wrote, "Wolfmother plays music reminiscent of the first wave of heavy metal -- Sabbath, Zeppelin, Cream, Deep Purple -- with a bit of Pink Floyd in there for measure. But the thing is, all those bands showed their blues influences. Wolfmother is definitely in line with that awesome musical lineage -- but shows no direct influence of the blues whatsoever."

I really like your last statement about them showing no direct influence of blues....

Perhaps this is why I prefer to listen to derivatives of 60s/70s bands... the derivative bands are less bluesy?

 

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