Words and Photos: David Thrower
The Metro City in Perth, Australia, is something of a hamster run providing multiple viewing levels with enough steps and stairs to cause the unwary more than a single opportunity to make a fool of themselves whilst carrying beer – or upon entering the photo pit. Think ‘Snakes and Ladders’ interpreted in 3D and you’re close to the mark. On a good night the venue must rock with this three-tiered approach but sadly the numbers weren’t in attendance tonight with the upper levels closed off and the ground floor struggling to appear half full but that didn’t stop the Antipodean rockers from throwing everything they had at us lucky few.
Local Perth concern Dream Rimmy was the opening act for the evening and offered a short set completely at odds with the headliners – no excitement, very little movement, and limited forward acceleration. In short, they fulfilled their own remit of playing ‘shoegaze’ by following the genre playbook with unerring accuracy. Sadly, the last thing I want from music is to feel my shoes are a better visual property than the performers on stage so while they produced seemingly effortless, slow-paced, drone-scapes before a partisan crowd they did little to really get my juices flowing.
Thankfully Wolfmother are a different kettle of fish entirely delivering a set of rollicking songs that take the stoner framework, throw in the raw, vintage sound of rock, sprinkle with a liberal dash of Sabbath vibe, and refuse to let it fall below ‘ferocious’ in the pulsating, inexorable manner of Monster Truck. Guitarist Andrew Stockdale is an impassioned frontman, replete with Hair Bear Bunch DNA, who struts and jerks his way through riff after gargantuan riff with a voice that can strip paint at fifty paces but is only one-third of this tightly solid outfit. Bass player and keyboard wizard Ian Peres may well resemble the cool ‘Tap bassist Derek Smalls albeit with frizzy hair but controls his corner of the stage with consummate ease, whether headbanging his way through a bass run, twiddling away at the keys or, as is often the case, playing both instruments simultaneously.eased off the pedal.
Despite having four albums under their respective belts the band has never quite captured the vitality of their eponymous debut on subsequent follow-ups ‘Cosmic Egg’, ‘New Crown’ and ‘Victorious’. As a result, they pleased the audience by packing their set with all but two songs from their excellent first release with fan-favourites ‘Woman’ and closer ‘Joker and the Thief’ generating the greatest response, though take nothing away from their later material as live each track powers along with the same determination as its older brethren ensuring that through 90 minutes the audience is pummeled with equal parts melody and ferocity.
Australians love rock music, particularly when it resonates with retro charm, so it was a real pity greater numbers weren’t in attendance as Wolfmother deliver garage-gritty rock with flair and passion. If further proof were needed then consider the words of my dear, rock-deficient brother, ex-pat and fellow attendee, who departed the venue with the following words – ‘If ever there was a group of musicians clearly meant to be rock stars…’
I rest my/his case.
New Moon Rising
The Love That You Give
How Many Times
Where Eagles Have Been
The Simple Life
Joker & the Thief