Critics constantly associate Wolfmother with the 1970s era of classic rock; Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath being two usual comparisons. They are praised for emulating a sound similar to these iconic rock bands but equally criticised for being unoriginal. Heavy, zapping guitar riffs and simple, catchy lyrics is the formula that Andrew Stockdale, the band’s singer, applies. Consequently, if you go with the flow, the band are very enjoyable.
On a Thursday evening at Rock City, the band promptly began at 8pm, hurling the audience into the evening of rock with three of their most renowned songs, ensuring anyone who arrived 10 minutes late would undoubtedly be disappointed. Appropriately, they opened with ‘Victorious’, the lead single from their new album of the same name. This was followed by ‘New Moon Rising’, the lead single from their second album, and then surprisingly their best and most famous song, ‘Woman’, was next. I imagined the ferociously paced ‘Woman’ as a perfect opener or one to save for the encore but oddly it was placed third on the set list.
After this opening trio, the band blasted through the set, mainly playing fan-favourites from the first two albums with a few tracks from the new album sprinkled in. Without sugar-coating it, the band was very loud. Of course, this is appropriate for a hard rock band but unfortunately during many of the songs, Stockdale’s vocals were muffled. This would be my only criticism. The Robert Plant–like quality to his vocalisation is what makes Wolfmother’s songs so exhilarating. Nevertheless, one exceptional performance was ‘California Queen’, which sounded more crisp and electrifying than the mp3 version on the album. The more fast and furious the songs got, the more the mosh pits intensified. This culminated with the final song of the night, the epic crowd-pleaser known as ‘Joker & the Thief’, which created a colossal bouncing mosh to satisfy the audience for the rest of the night.
In the modern era, where crazy hard rock bands are virtually obsolete, Wolfmother are appreciated as a throwback. They are the closest thing you’ll find to a modern day AC/DC or Guns N’ Roses and that‘s exciting or underwhelming depending on your viewpoint. I’m somewhere in the middle but it was great to see them live.