Know Your Wolves

Back when we did our year-end poll we asked: What’s the best band name involving wolves that isn’t taken yet? Your said:

37.47% The Fear of Virgina Wolf
23.44% Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!
20.99% Zwolf
09.74% The Killers (of Wolves)
08.37% Wolf 242

And while we don’t have Fear Of Virgina Wolf news for you (yet!), lupines did take over Manhattan earlier this week and Stereogum caught both WParade and WMother. Here’s how it went down…

Wolfmother: Tuesday 4/11 @ Bowery
I caught these Aussies when they tore down Mercury in February. Replicating that show’s mania was bound to be a tall order. I’m not sure that it did, but when a band rocks this hard time and again, it just doesn’t matter.

Wolfmother set it off with “Dimension,” a pulsing, Sabbath-y romp that had Andrew Stockdale in high gear from the start. After a shout out to those who came to their Pianos gig in ’04, the band tore through the stop-start fury of “Apple Tree,” Stockdale’s banshee wail in full force. And so was that afro. We’re talking serious volume in that thing. At one point, a boozed up joker started yelling “Is that a wig? Show us it’s not a wig!” With two big tufts of `fro in each hand, Andrew gave a good yank and shot off a devious grin. Not quite biting off a bat’s head, but it sort of felt like an Ozzy moment. And if you know Wolfmother, you know that moment wasn’t alone…

The band dominates the stage. Andrew is their deranged ring leader, jump-kicking his way into instrumental sections, throwing his arms in beckoned calls to the crowd. Across stage there’s Chris Ross, pushing and pulling his keyboard, pressing himself flush against his bass amp, somehow still locking with Myles Heskett’s driving, Bonham fueled fills. Wolfmother matches each riff’s intensity with arena-ready stage antics. They play as though their audience is 55,000, and that’s exactly how you feel when you’re watching.

Wolfmother killed. I didn’t even realize that a pit got going during the encore until I caught an elbow to the lower back. I doubled over, wind knocked out of me, and then I saw my camera bag. Sitting in vomit! Meanwhile, the pit was in fits over the raunch-rock groove of “Love Train.” There I was: gasping for air, gagging on puke fumes, watching Andrew jump and Chris careen. And loving every second of it.

“We can just have fun with it!” Stockdale told me during our interview in February. “We don’t have to be artistically revered by novelists and in dungeons in Berlin. There’s nothing wrong with going out and having a drink and seeing some rock, you know?” There is no pretense to Wolfmother. They’re just out to rock you like it’s 1971. You can call them on their influences, sure, but no one is mining this vein this effectively. Hell, they may even spearhead a retro dawn-of-rock movement. If that’s the way it goes down, Wolfmother will be the Led standard, and we’ll be talking about them in a whole new way. For now, we can content ourselves with talking about how much they rock, and how much Cleveland will rock when the band plays WXRK’s Kuyahoga fest 8/3. How fucking photogenic are these dudes? Bring a camera.

Wolf Parade: Monday 4/10 @ Webster Hall
The previous day, we had ourselves a dose of wolves below 14th Street. These buzzed-about Canadians were in town for a two night sold-out stint. Scott and I wriggled our way up the left side of the floor and camped out with the fist-pumpers. This was my first time seeing the band. People had me braced for the worst but, a blistering set later, the band won me over.

The “You Are A Runner” → “Fancy Claps” transition was a perfect Wolf Parade moment. Krug sang “I’ll build a house inside of you” over the jagged synth intro for “Fancy Claps,” and the Hall exploded when the rest of the band crashed in. Another highlight came courtesy of Krug’s vocals on the “Modern World” outro. Awesome. The four new songs performed were hit or miss, but generally well placed, leading into sure shots like the sweeping “I’ll Believe In Anything” and a ramped up take on “We Built Another World.” After taking my pics I moved toward the back of the Hall, by the bar, to take a look in the show from a distance. Didn’t matter where I was. Wolf Parade brought it.

We know Wolves are so ’05, and Horses are the black. But if you’re already over Band Of ______ and They Shoot ______ Don’t They?, check out Stereogum’s latest equine obsession: Spook The Horse. Load up their jukebox and let us know what you think.

Tags: Wolf Parade