November 28th, 2009
The first time I listened to Wolfmother’s latest album, Cosmic Egg, I felt that this was a band that knows how to progress, and take the talent that put them on the map in the first place to even greater levels of creativity. I’ve seen Wolfmother twice in the past few years, and each time I was amazed at the power and energy they delivered in their live performance. This was when Chris Ross and Myles Heskett were in the band along with Andrew Stockdale, and they had more of a triad style of writing music and performing live. I had known the original Wolfmother lineup broke up in August of 2008 due to ‘irreconcilable differences’, but still, I was really excited to see a band bring back the magic of psychedelic heavy metal that’s been lacking in the music scene for a long time.
On Friday Nov 20th at the Paramount, the band took the stage opening with a blictering rendition of Dimension from their self titled debut album, and really didn’t let up at all for the entire show. Instead of the traditional three-piece rock set, Andrew Stockdale is now joined by bassist and keyboardist Ian Peres, rhythm guitarist Aidan Nemeth and drummer Dave Atkins. There were plenty of new songs from Cosmic Egg that sounded even better live than they did on the album, including Sundial and 10,000 Days, which demonstrate how intense guitar riffs can drive the energy of a good rock performance. The crowd was mostly younger, and I must admit watching them slam dance in the mosh pit brought back some good memories of electrifying band performances I saw when I was in my early twenties. And during the band’s final encore performance of The Joker and the Thief the youngins really got charged.
There is no doubt that Wolfmother in its current form can still deliver a solid set and give people looking for a great rock and roll show a good time. However, the synergy from performances I saw in past years was just not there. The shows with the original lineup were more about the band as a whole and how the combined talent of each musician contributed to an excellent performance. These days, it seems the band is more about Andrew Stockdale. The band was set up on stage so Stockdale was in the spotlight, and the new band was more off to the side. I don’t even recall a single instance where Stockdale would jam, or even acknowledge the rest of the performers in the band, which really affected the overall performance. The energy delivered by a band is successful only if there is harmony among the band members and that just wasn’t evident at this show. I’m sure Wolfmother will still continue to make great music in the future, but they really need to give some extra attention to their live performances.