Live Music + Gig Reviews

Wolfmother @ Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

27 February 2006

Locked away in a time capsule marked 1971-1979, or thereabouts, are hard rocking Aussie three piece Wolfmother. Clearly armed with a record collection consisting mainly of Zeppelin, Floyd, Sabbath and AC/DC as well as some fortified cigarettes, they formed some years ago in their native Sydney and to date have a Dave Sardy produced debut LP to their name.

Indeed, this bunch are at least 30 years behind their time, choosing to formulate songs psychedelic in nature and gigantic in size, full of monstrous, overwhelming guitar riffs and a real Plant-like snarl of a lead vocal courtesy of their big haired, waistcoat wielding front man Andrew Stockdale.

Certainly, there has been a distinct buzz surrounding the trio of late, perhaps partly due to the relative success of Modular label mates Cut Copy and perhaps a collective acknowledgement that a Plant/Page reformation is unlikely to occur in our lifetime, with Wolfmother live being quite possibly the closest most of us under 50 will ever get to such an experience. Whatever the reason, it has ensured that pretty much every venue they’ve played in the UK has been a sell out, or very close to, with tonight in Nottingham being no exception.

The band, cheered on by a set of fans in the know down the front and onlookers who were curious to see if rock of the old school nature really was all that, opened their set with a number entitled Colossal. And they weren’t lying – Stockdale’s guitar riffs were simply huge, the drums were bashed in an aggressive manner and the whole thing, in all its various sections and breakdowns, lasted longer than any normal pop song really ought to.

But hey, this is proper rock ‘n’ roll, man, the real thing, and they’ll be damned if they have to adhere to any of these inane 21st Century conventions. And with song titles ranging from White Unicorn to Tales From The Forest Of The Gnomes without the slightest hint of irony, we’re hardly dealing with the likes of James Blunt or Coldplay are we?

Whatever, if you overlook the fact that they often ran the risk of degenerating into an amusing parody of their aforementioned influences, the songs they played were often very fun and enjoyable in a let-your-hair-down-swig-beer-and-dance-around kind of way. And given a choice between these guys and those fools The Darkness, Jet or contenders for shortest time in the public spotlight Louis XIV, I know who I’d choose.

And they’ve even got some aces up their sleeve that foul all over these bands from a remarkable height. The bulldozer that is the Black Dog-inspired Dimension, the rampaging AC/DC-a-like Woman and the prog-tastic Mind’s Eye all stand up to tough scrutiny: these are memorable, often air punchingly good numbers that should stand Wolfmother in good stead as they continue to try and win over new fans around the globe.

Of course their music isn’t going to change the world, or indeed many people’s outlooks on life. And whether they have a commercial future beyond 2006 remains to be seen – but if you’re after a fun filled, occasionally exhilarating night out replete with sharp, visceral thrills, there are probably not a huge amount of other groups that are able to deliver this with such flair.

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