Reviewed by James Lavender
Following on from our review of their latest album, Victorious, Nothing Off Note attended Wolfmother’s comeback gig at Nottingham’s Rock City.
Just when you thought that Wolfmother has gone the way of the dodo and The Rasmus, Andrew Stockdale unleashes his Wolfmother alter-ego with a brand new album and first full tour of the UK since 2007. The music scene has changed considerably since then (as has the line-up of the band with Stockdale being the only original member left), do Wolfmother still have something to say in a world where traditional rock music is in retreat?
As soon as we enter the Main Hall at Rock City, the support act was finishing their set. Cincinnati-based rock band Electric Citizen have a heavily-influenced 70s rock sound, much like Wolfmother’s. Their lead singer Laura Dolan sounds like Siouxsie Sioux and has the stage presence and looks of Stevie Nicks. This hark back to a nostalgic rock sound was a theme that was constantly revisited throughout the evening.
When Wolfmother came on, they launched straight into their single ‘Victorious’, as if to announce their triumphal return to the Rock City stage they played 9 years ago. Surprisingly, they played ‘Woman’, one of the most well-known songs, early in the set. This was followed by the fast-rhythm, fast singing ‘Apple Tree’, then ‘White Unicorn’, which seems like the perfect title for a trippy rock song. As mentioned earlier, Wolfmother have a very nostalgic sound which is reminiscent of the best rock artists of the 1960s and 1970s. ‘White Feather’ has the same tempo as The Rolling Stones’ ‘Start Me Up’. Another song sounded like Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’. The band who they are most musically indebted to is Led Zeppelin. Their mark can be heard on ‘Woman’ and ‘Colossal’, the latter sounding like a stripped back version of ‘Kashmir’. If you asked someone to describe the look of a rock band from the 1970s, then Wolfmother would be that band, with Stockdale sporting his trademark large afro (although I couldn’t help but be reminded of him looking like a cross between Simon Amstel and Robert Smith of The Cure). The bassist looks like he belongs in Canned Heat, whilst the drummer looked very heavy metal with his long hair, and matching black trousers and t-shirt.
Yes, they not might be original, but who cares? Sometimes you want to hear classic rock music which is played loud, fast, heavy and with plenty of solos and mosh pits. Wolfmother delivered all of those by the bucketful. There could have been more audience engagement by Stockdale, but when you are moshing to ‘Colossal’, it doesn’t really matter. Overall, it was fun performance which had the audience eating out of their hands, and the audience were well rewarded with an encore performance of ‘The Joker and The Thief’. Rock on!