Words by Haig Assadourian :: Images by Tony Stack

Wolfmother :: 05.22 :: Bluebird Theater :: Denver, CO

Andrew Stockdale - Wolfmother :: 05.22 :: Denver, CO
The bold pronouncement upon the marquee read "Best Show of the Year." And so with that expectation, a sold-out Bluebird Theater welcomed the new rock gods from "Down Under" to Denver. The power trio of Andrew Stockdale (guitar/vocals), Chris Ross (bass/organ) and Myles Heskett (drums) leaped onto the stage, spurring the small venue to roar in fist-pumping anticipation.

With little introduction, Wolfmother fed off the energy and dove into "Dimension" and its Sabbath-inspired riffs. Three songs into a performance that included a raw "Apple Tree," Stockdale admitted to a chink in the armor - he was losing his voice. Stockdale's vocals, which normally make him out to be Ozzy Osbourne and Jack White's love child, may have been stretched thin over a long string of shows across the U.S. And when a band's sound is about power, a strained voice can't help but be noticed. To make matters worse, the sound at the Bluebird was muddied by an overpowering humming bass that further challenged the vocals. Stockdale promised to make up for this by jumping higher.

Chris Ross - Wolfmother
05.22 :: Denver, CO
It was Ross, however, who deserved a gold medal for high jumps, pouncing, and organ twirling throughout the show. Besides his dominating bass lines, Ross's keyboard/synth combo (literally held together by duct tape) delivered plenty of psychedelic interludes amongst their songs and was the show's energy pack.

"Love Train" and "Woman" filled out the middle of the set and showcased moments of guitar brilliance. As the show wore on, the crowd packed in tighter up front despite the attempts to mosh by a few hearty but misguided souls. Stockdale and Ross did their best to join the fun, leaping about at every opportunity. Ross didn't play his keyboard as much as attack it, wrenching it in every direction, often suspending it above the audience. When he switched back to bass, he simply left the keyboard on its side like a child moving on to the next toy.

The finale, "Mind's Eye," was introduced by a cacophonous organ jam that fed into a Deep Purple-style psychedelic romp. And then, they were done. An eight-song, hour-long set is forgivable from a trio with a single album's worth of material and a singer with a raw throat, but it highlighted a lack of musical exploration.

Andrew Stockdale - Wolfmother :: 05.22 :: Denver, CO
It's tempting to write off Wolfmother as derivative of heavy metal icons of decades past, but there's something satisfying about their vein of heavy blues rock and they pull it off quite well. Their eponymous debut album is packed with catchy riffs. Live, those riffs were sometimes lost in the mix as the band succumbed to the love of speed and energy, but they showed vast potential. Even bands like Led Zeppelin were prone to some sloppy live play, but the good ones were able to find a balance of tempo in their shows that alleviated the strain on musicianship and the singer's voice. Here's hoping Wolfmother find a pace they can sustain and get a chance to grow beyond their hype.

JamBase | Denver
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[Published on: 5/31/06]

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All Loving Liberal White Guy Wed 5/31/2006 04:03PM
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All Loving Liberal White Guy

wolfmother rawks!!!

Mr. Aaron starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/1/2006 06:33AM
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Mr. Aaron

wolfmother is a badass band. They are playing Atlanta next thursday. dont miss these guys.

jweir420 starstarstarstar Thu 6/1/2006 07:45AM
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Wolfmother will make you hippies go crying for mommy...

funkyriddims Thu 6/1/2006 11:01AM
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These guys have been in heavy rotation in my player for months now, great stuff. They sound like they came out of a time capsule buried in John Bonhams basement. Hope they come out with a new album soon.

jglynn Thu 6/1/2006 11:27AM
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Saw them in Chicago a few weeks ago. The show was definitely longer than 8 songs and 1 hour, they must have really been worn out in Denver. When they're firing on all cylinders they are a great young rock band. They really do need to do something about that hum though, it was present when I saw them as well.

coolcarl1 starstarstarstarstar Thu 6/1/2006 07:27PM
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I drove 1400 miles round trip to go to this concert and it was worth every mile. I just wish we could have heard the flute during witchcraft.

phishphreak2009 starstarstarstar Fri 6/2/2006 11:06AM
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This is strange yesterday I bought a black keys cd and itunes recommended that I listen to wolfmother. I enjoyed most the previews so i bougth the whole album. I enjoy the lead singers voice it sounds like ozzy and sometimes a little bit of plant. I like seeing a new rock band that can bring out some good ole classic rock. The band seems to have a lot of positive energy with more experince the band can have a larger selection of songs to draw from, and the whole band can become adapted to life on the road. (ex. singer getting used to singing alot) Keep the music comin Wolfmother!

kmcclain Tue 6/6/2006 07:17AM
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saw wolfmother last week and while they def. brought some much needed heavy fist pumping rock'n roll to the table I agree with the "lack of musical exploration" comment. then again they are pretty young, Saw another young hard rocking band also last week that left a much bigger impression....Rose Hill Drive. do yourselves a favor and check them out if you get a chance