Wolfmother @ The Wiltern 11/24/09
With their pompous but infectious riffs, driving bass lines and thundering drum beats, Wolfmother has long established themselves as a band that encompasses the spirit and guts of 70’s rock. Their sound is obviously nothing unique; in fact at times it’s extremely hard to differentiate their songs from those of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. But it is tolerable mainly due to the fact that sounding original is not Wolfmother’s objective. It is by looking past the similarities that an energetic world full of air guitar-inducing rock anthems is revealed. This same aggressive motif that is seen on their recordings is also exhibited in their live performance, only a hundred times more amplified.
One thing that can be expected from a Wolfmother live performance is that the Aussie’s will provide everything that is needed for an exceptional musical experience. The straight up rock n’ roll songs, sleazy psychedelic blues, high voltage boogie, and of course the monstrous riffs of singer-guitarist Andrew Stockdale that are so big and bold they bruise upon listen were all present throughout their tour finale show at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. It was with the blistering one-two-punch of set openers “Dimension” and “Cosmic Egg” that Stockdale sounded like the gate keeper of hell, possessing a voice that carried such a dirty swagger that it felt like one could catch a disease just by listening to him sing.
The hugely popular “Woman” – mainly thanks to its placement in Guitar Hero 2 – made an early appearance as well as fan favorites “The Joker and the Thief,” “Vagabond” and “New Moon Rising.” However, the key to the groups attack was anchored around the heavy metal “10,000 Feet” and the nearly punkish jam “Apple Tree,” in which the moppy haired Stockdale stomped around the stage with the same flamboyant moves of fellow countryman Angus Young as the crowd fueled the already fiery songs with boisterous chants, head-banging and of course the signature rock devil horns.
As the dueling guitars of Stockdale and Aiden Nemeth roared back up for the much implored encore, the guitar-god Slash plugged in for a rousing rendition of his own song “By the Sword.” It was quite obvious that Stockdale and company were star struck by the presence of their frizzy haired idol, as he gave them and the equally amused crowd a crash course in guitar shredding.
While Wolfmother will never be as monolithic as the rock legends they mimic, their live performances sure do make them feel like this generations answer to their rock supremacy.