Wolfmother + Electric Citizen
Wednesday 20th April 2016
The Forum, Kentish Town, London
Was it really just over ten years ago, whilst thumbing through the much missed 'News Of The World', that I came across a review of Aussie Rockers Wolfmother's first album, describing their Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and AC/DC influences? Upon investigation - my very first play of 'Woman' on Youtube is still vivid to this day - as is when I first played the self-titled album all the way through. Ten years down the line and just four albums later - it's fair to say that their path has been chequered although the Wolfmother constant driving force is still there - namely vocalist/guitarist Andrew Stockdale. Following the release of their latest knock-out album 'Victorious' - the three piece - now with Ian Peres on bass & keyboards and Alex Carapetis on drums were on the last leg of their UK tour at the Forum, London - switched from The Shepherds Bush Empire because of on-going roof repair work.
We just caught the end of Ohio support band Electric Citizen before positioning ourselves centrally towards the front of the packed stalls. The static frizzy hair of Stockdale was welcomed on to the stage although the follicle challenge of Peres' beard and long hair won hands down. They launched immediately into 'Victorious' - a Wolfmother blueprint - with its stand-out riff and Stockdale's unique vocal exploring every sinue of their existence - still delivering those classic rock influences. For those punters present who had not heard the new album - 'New Moon Rising' from second album 'Cosmic Egg' got their juices running - hence the consequent mosh pit - resulting in an honourable retreat to the bar towards the side. And by the time the aforementioned 'Woman' was let loose - the Forum was rocking!
Small talk is not one of Stockdale's strong forte's - the subsequent AC/DCish quick turnaround of songs adding to the intensity of their set as they followed up with both 'Apple Tree' and the gargantuan 'White Unicorn' from their first album with another great newbie from 'V' 'The Love That You Give' sandwiched in between - but keeping up the delightful momentum. Wolfmother were not putting all their 'Cosmic Eggs' in one basket either as they dipped into their second album with 'White Feather' and 'California Queen' before dipping in to their third album 'New Crown' - which for mine had slipped under the radar due to no label support and little promotion - with the short but effective Bluesy 'How Many Times'. Well it was the 'Gypsy Caravan Tour' after all - so half way down the order we were treated to this stormer from 'V' - Peres' keys jousting with another trademark Stockdale guitar riff.
If any fuel needed adding to the mosh pit fire then Carapetis's pounding drum intro to the awesome 'Dimension' - "Oh yeah" - did the trick - Stockdale's guitar solo plus Peres' hypnotic bass line taking all of us "Into another dimension!" And if you needed any proof that the new album had more than one or two good tracks and that Wolfmother would not purely rely on their proven back catalogue to take care of the set - then the unrelenting pace of "The Simple Life' and 'City Lights' nailed this - although the acoustic intro of 'Pretty Peggy' took things down a notch - evidence of the versatility of Victorious' on songs such as 'Baronness' and the brilliant 'Best Of A Bad Situation' - which sadly weren't given an airing on the night.
Now it was time for the run-in and the big hitters from their seminal first album. The distorted feedback, bass and drum heralded 'Pyramid' complemented by Stockdale's amazing guitar, vocals and Peres' organ. And if the next track was ever deserving of the name 'Colossal' then this was it - the guitar/keyboard riff marriage made in heaven rightly sending The Forum punters into a frenzy as Wolfmother weaved their way through this classic. The unmistakeable foot stomping opening of 'Vagabond' (dedicated to Prince two days later in Cologne) was Wolfmother's first encore, Stockdale and Peres ultimately pogoing around the stage before they finished with of course 'Joker & The Thief' - where the opening fusion of guitar, organ and drums knows no bounds - the riff taking all those lucky to be present into overdrive - not for the squeamish! So good to see Stockdale back on track, not only for the great album but also for the Wolfmother faithful as well - hopefully taking them both, in the future, into another dimension!