November 24, 2009
The Wiltern, LA
Wolfmother: they don't just play
One of my friends asked me what I was doing tonight. When I told him I was going to see Wolfmother, he responded, “Wolfmother? I don’t know what that is, but I wanna go.” And that’s why I’m friends with that guy – he knows a good thing when he hears it.
Wolfmother is a good thing.
The last time I saw Wolfmother it was during Voodoo Experience 2009, in New Orleans, Halloween weekend. They were one of only three bands that exceeded my expectations during that festival. The last time I was at The Wiltern was to see Nine Inch Nails’ last performance ever and the room still feels charged from that event. The last time I saw a live show was 3 weeks ago, before I left on an Arctic expedition.
Maybe it’s due to my long holiday away from live music . . . Or perhaps it’s just the fact that Wolfmother is an outstanding band, but that was one hell of a show. The audience was among the best I’ve seen in LA – clapping, stomping, jumping throughout every song. If they weren’t already standing, the audience would have given a standing ovation after every song. There were times it looked as if the band was thinking, “Wait – is this our encore?” during the thunderous applause and cheering that followed every song. No, no. . . that’s just your third song, but you played it like it was an encore and the audience responded with the same level of enthusiasm. Wolfmother played every song as if it were their banner hit – a larger than life, extremely energetic and passionate performance start to finish.
Wolfmother played every song as if it were an encore performance
I wonder if Wolfmother knows this was the best show they’ve ever played. I wonder if, from the band’s perspective, this was an exceptional show. . . or have they all been this good? Andrew Stockdale’s voice, guitar solos, and dynamic stage presence took the show to another level. At one point, Ian Peres was playing keyboards with his right hand and bass with his left hand, simultaneously. At another point, Peres was playing keyboards and his feet weren’t touching the ground at all. Peres frequently needed to untangle himself from the cable he’d gotten caught up in while tearing around the stage.
Andrew Stockdale and Slash
Wolfmother weren’t the only ones tearing around the stage. During the encore Stockdale invited Slash out to play “By The Sword.” Whatever the audience was doing before Slash hit the stage, they turned up 300 notches when he did take the stage.
This was the last show of Wolfmother’s U.S. tour. Wolfmother doesn’t just get up there and play — they GET UP THERE AND PLAY!
And the fans continued screaming and cheering as they traversed the parking garage, on the way to their cars.
October 31, 2009
New Orleans, LA
More than 100 bands played New Orleans Voodoo Experience this year. While many of them were outstanding, only 3 of them exceeded my expectations. Wolfmother is one of them.
I ran into Andrew Stockdale, Ian Peres, and Aidan Nemeth back at the press tent, prior to their set. They were doing an interview with Filter and the interviewer was asking them what they thought of alternative animal names for their band. “Wombat Mother?” “Koala Mother?” The journalist shot off a dozen or so animal names. Stockdale and Peres looked puzzled for a moment as if there were a language barrier between Australia (where the band is from) and America, and then they cracked a smile. It was either that or beat the sh*t out of the interviewer; and with a name like “Wolfmother” you can’t be certain which way it will go. As it turns out, the guys are quite nice . . . most of the time.
I’ve always liked Wolfmother. I’ve seen them a few times, at various festivals, and they put on a great show. So when I saw them at Voodoo Experience in New Orleans on Halloween, I expected them to be good. I hadn’t yet listened to their new album, Cosmic Egg, which came out a few days prior to the festival so I didn’t know what to expect musically.
Wolfmother audience at Voodoo Experience
Wolfmother hit hard, song after song, for an hour and a half. The music was outstanding and the guys played tighter than I remembered from previous years. This could partially be explained by the fact that there’s been some shuffling of band members. Or, it could simply be that Wolfmother is a phenomenal band that continues to evolve with their music. As much as I liked Wolfmother before, and as much as I expected from them, their set at New Orleans Voodoo Experience took it to another level. The rest of the audience seemed to agree, their attention captivated, and their hands, cell phones, and cameras, in the air throughout the set.
A couple things happened after Wolfmother finished their set: I wondered how Jane’s Addiction and Kiss were going to make me feel anything at all, and I went back to the hotel and downloaded (legally) Cosmic Egg.
But before that – well, actually, after Kiss failed to impress me and before I purchased Cosmic Egg – I ran into Stockdale and Peres again. This time they were talking to some fans at the bar, in the artist hospitality tent. I was shocked to find Hotshot Robot (an old friend of mine from previous festivals), standing behind the guys, beheaded.
“What happened to Hotshot Robot?” I asked.
“We had an arrangement,” Peres explained. “He was supposed to show up on stage and . . . “
I can’t write the remainder of what Peres said because if I did, my blog wouldn’t make it through the internet safety filters. Let’s just say the robot didn’t hold up his end of the deal and Wolfmother took care of him.
Before: A Happy Hotshot Robot, in tact, talking to Glasgow Friday (more after the jump)
After: Hotshot Robot, headless, with Wolfmother Saturday (more after the jump)
Let this be a lesson. Don’t f*ck with Wolfmother. But do go see their show. Who knows – it may even inspire you to buy music again.
Note: No robots were harmed at Voodoo Experience. Sources close to Hotshot Robot verified that being headless was his Halloween costume.