Spaulding Bogosian

Not as political as the Other A-Holes, but yet the kind of Funny Meanderings of a Jersey Guy

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Well, I went to see Wolfmother at the Kool Haus in Toronto last night. I have to say that they put on a good show. They opened up with “Dimension”, also the first track of their self-titled album, and it was loud and heavy and everything you like about the band, assuming you like the band. The set continued with more songs off of their debut album, over the top feedback, throwing around of instruments and microphone stands and the general posturing of a band with deep ties to “The Who”, “Jimi Hendrix”, “Led Zeppelin” and “Nirvana”. Let me say though, when I mention these other bands in the same breath as Wolfmother, I am speaking of the on stage antics and not to the quality. I personally have always liked the purity of a three member band, Rush, The Police, Nirvana, to name several. Wolfmother while they have that pure energy, is probably most respected and followed by default. Their music is reminiscent of some of the power rock that we just haven’t seen enough of in the last two decades. In the words of Eddie Murphy, if your starving and someone throws you a cracker, your gonna be like, “Wow that’s a good cracker.” And that’s what Wolfmother is, a good cracker. They have the raw energy and plenty of attitude, but the music just isn’t there. I think people are thirsting for that old school rock and roll energy and want to believe that Wolfmother is more substantial band than the music proves out. Last night during the encore set, Andrew Stockdale, the lead singer swaggers up to the mike and declares, “Some people say that Wolfmother is derivative, we are not fucking derivative.” Now, if you weren’t trying to sound like a mash-up of Led Zeppelin and Styx, and you weren’t playing your guitar behind your neck and with your teeth ala Jimi Hendrix, or using the mike stand as a bow ala Jimmy Page. And let’s just say you didn’t have The Who in mind when you trashed your instruments. Lets face it, the best thing about this band is that they are derivative. Of all the bands that they are not trying to copy, their best song wouldn’t come close to the worst of those legendary bands. But the crowd doesn’t seem to know the difference. During the encore they did a very respectable cover of Led Zeppelin’s Communication Breakdown, and the crowd kinda stopped and stared. Most of them didn’t know the song. It’s very sad when mediocrity shines brighter than genius. It reminded me of an Umphrey’s Mcgee show where the crowd seemed to know every word to their songs, and then they did two Beatles cover tunes, and the crowd was silent, like, what is this shit. I mean it’s the fucking Beatles, come on kids have a little taste and knowledge. There are a few bands that are renewing a rock and roll sound, The Kings of Leon for one that have put out two respectable rock CD’s, and The Darkness, who put out Permission to Land back in 2003, and had a very similar buzz about them as Wolfmother. And in my opinion the music was superior, but alas they have had no success as of late and are threatening to fade into obscurity.
Wolfmother needs to get out of there own way. If they really want to be a great band they need to concentrate on their writing. You take White Unicorn for example, that is one of the most derivative songs I’ve ever heard. Is it Styx? Is it King Crimson? The answer is it’s neither, because it’s not good enough to be Styx or King Crimson. Stop worrying that people are comparing you to great bands. It’s a wonderful place to start. You think Bruce Springsteen was offended when they compared his songwriting to Bob Dylan?
They played what appeared to be a new song for the crowd (might be called “Something”) and I for one, thought is was pretty good. If the new album has songs of that quality and better they might be around for a while. Bottom line is I enjoyed their performance, they have a lot of heart and energy. Now all they need is good songwriting.

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