The next time somebody tells you that rock is dead, grab 'em by the scruff of the neck and haul 'em over to wherever the hell Wolfmother is playing, and then ask them, politely, "Still think that way, moron?"
Resurrecting the psychedelic, proto-heavy metal sounds of Blue Cheer and early Black Sabbath, Wolfmother (pictured at right in an Autumn De Wilde photo) doesn't roll with current musical trends. And yet, the trio of hairy vocalist/guitarist Andrew Stockdale, bassist/organist Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett has landed its time machine smack dab in an era where slick hip-hop and American Idol "flavors of the month" rule the charts. What a great time to be alive!
No matter. Wolfmother hasn't let that get them down. Fuzzed-out and trippy, with searing lead guitar, crashing drums, towering rhythms and moody, prog-inspired keyboard movements, Wolfmother brought the music world kicking and screaming back to the acid-rock fog of the late '60s/early '70s with its self-titled 2006 release on the Interscope label. And those that got dragged back loved it.
On Tuesday, June 26, Wolfmother landed its time machine at the Oneida Casino in Green Bay, Wis., and torched the place. After struggling a bit through the opener "Dimension" — the pacing seemed a little off, a little slow — Wolfmother collected itself as a unit, roaring through the single "Woman" as the crowd of about 500 people just exploded. Mind-altering, metal-tinged instrumental passages mixed with the folk-rock innocence of "Apple Tree," and "Mind's Eye" and "White Unicorn" offered a mesmerizing mix of power and drama.
But, it was the thundering "Colossal" and the white-hots jabs of "Joker & The Thief" during the encore that sent everybody — the band, the audience, security guards ... everyone — into a frenzy. Ever the rock 'n' roll showman, Stockdale had all the '70s arena-rock moves down pat, while the acrobatic Ross abused his keyboards and Heskett smashed his cymbals into kindling.
Wolfmother isn't just raping the past, however. Yeah, the band's sound is based in the bluesy, psychedelic metal that was birthed when Generation X was in diapers, and lyrics are drawn from the world of fantasy literature and goddess worship — Led Zeppelin already went there, I know. But, there's something new and fresh in the way Wolfmother presents the past. Think of their music as the sequel to what's already come before it, and while sequels don't always measure up to the original, Wolfmother's zeal and energy prevail — especially live.
Wolfmother's current tour is almost done. Visit www.wolfmother.com to see where the band plays next.