Wolfmother review - with fan pics!

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

To give you a sense of how pumped people were for the sold-out Wolfmother show Saturday night at LC Pavilion, let me begin with an anecdote about the friend I took as my plus one.

Hearing that I had an extra ticket and forced to work late at a restaurant, my guest told his boss that he was suffering from a horrible stomach flu and accidentally soiled his pants. Though a bit skeptical, his boss let him off and he came straight from work to the show. Risking termination and embarassment on a bold-faced lie to see a show - that's rock 'n' roll.

The rest of the crowd was equally enthused about hearing the metallic anthems that the Sydney band has revived on their debut LP, released last year and still going strong in the hearts of every fan of Sabbath and Zeppelin.

There's always an element of predictability with a band that has only one album, but on the strength of Wolfmother, the trio kept a rowdy crowd rapt with a surprisingly clever and overwhelmingly powerful set. All the favorites were played, from "Woman" to "White Unicorn," but in an order that gave them new life.

It was unclear at first whether the band was uninterested or just lost in rock thought - the members looked calmly into the crowd and studied their instruments - but the sound quickly spoke for itself. It was a prodcution as tight as on record; vocals were note-perfect, the occasional organ sounds as ominous as planned.

Trying to replicate the exact sound of a record is always hit or miss. You either get the technical but tired vibe of Steely Dan or the erroneous but energetic mess of punk rock. Wolfmother found that happy medium: a performance that lacquered their grungy studio offerings with just enough live vibe (and a few errant, hilarious leg kicks).

Especially good were versions of "Mind's Eye," that deepest of tracks, and "Woman," with an extended but tasteful breakdown appended.

There was a collective groan when the Wolfies left the stage, since the set was a bit short and most (included me) expected them to return for a measly two-song encore, a routine I absolutely despise.

But the five songs - more a second set than an encore - were even more furied than those the band played earlier in the evening. There were three amazingly tight versions of album tracks "Vagabond," "Joker and the Thief" and "Colossal."

And to our collective surprise, the band included a new song (the band's press agent said they've been in the studio) and a mind-blowing cover of Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown," a track that jumpstarted Led's career and spotlighted the driving vintage rock at the heart of Wolfmother's sound.

Me, I love a band not afraid of its influences.

Thank you: To Andrea Lohrer and Russell, the lovely duo who supplied me with these awesome pics. In the future, I'm instituting a new feature: Riot Act! Fan Pics. If you've got good shots of a concert I review on this blog, send them to me and I'll post them. You'll get credit; the blog gets pretty.

Win, freakin' win, baby!