Wolfmother @ Academy 1 - Live Review
Andrew Stockdale and his Wolfmother cohorts came to Manchester’s Academy 1 to promote their new album
and brought Electric Citizen with them.
Words: Anthony Firmin | Photos: Wendy Keogh
It has been 9 years since I last saw Wolfmother as their debut album exploded onto the music scene but a lot has happened since then so it is time to catch up. For this tour they have brought with them Cincinnati-ites Electric Citizen and I am instantly transfixed; they are a heady mix of Curved Air, Jefferson Airplane and Black Sabbath. Intriguingly it works!
The songs played are taken from their two albums, 2014’s Sateen and their new album Higher Ground. Vocalist Laura Dolan’s voice has a Grace Slick quality to it and her husband and guitarist, Ross Dolan, provides some serious hooks and riff’s, and the band as a whole certainly deliver in quality and style. The only song I had my doubts about is Light Years Beyond which starts off suspiciously like Sab’s Children Of The Grave, even the solo has more than a touch of the Iommis to it. Nonetheless, I was impressed!
There are plenty of rock gigs happening this evening (including Muse at the Arena) so a not quite sold out Academy 1 sees Wolfmother launch into Victorious from the new album and the front of the venue goes mental and they stayed mental for most of the set. I was stood at the back and the audience was, surprisingly, rather sedate and I am not quite sure why. The onslaught from Wolfmother continued with New World Rising from their Cosmic Egg album. The Rickenbacker bass of Ian Peres produces a thunderous sound and he also contributes cool organ playing on Woman, allowing the audience to drift back into the 60’s and 70’s. This is just as a pungent whiff of marijuana drifts across my face.
Apple Tree finally see’s the front crowd go berserk, unsurprisingly it is the songs from the first album that are motivating this crowd and to be honest the new album is probably the closest they have come to recapturing not only the sound but the feeling of their debut. At this point a young child, with his father, appeared to be getting crushed at the front and Stockdale invited them to watch the rest of the show from the side of the stage – a nice touch.
The encore of The Joker And The Thief with its bludgeoning riff’s and organ ran rampant across the audience, even the sedate bunch at the back were moving along. An argument that is often made about Wolfmother is that their music is somewhat derivative, samey, and I have to admit there were points in the set where this was true but it could also be why almost half the songs played were from the first album as Stockdale and co. acknowledge the limitations of much of the bands recorded material since. The revolving door for band members hasn’t helped matters either.