Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wolfmother at House of Blues Anaheim

How packed could the House of Blues Anaheim be on a Thursday night? Super packed is the answer. Having frequented numerous House of Blues Anaheim shows, seeing that the floor was fairly full well before the show started meant the crowd was ready for the rock.

Wolfmother last appeared in Anaheim in 2007 at the Grove of Anaheim riding high on the wave of success from their debut album. Supporting their latest album Cosmic Egg, Wolfmother were razor sharp as the tones from Andrew Stockdale's Gibson SG richoceted like a sledgehammer throughout the venue.

J Roddy Walston and The Business

The energy from the crowd was already elevated as they sang along to "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen before the curtains even opened. Could the opening band sustain this energy? Yes. J Roddy Walston and The Business turned in one of the more compelling sets for an opening act that I have witnessed in a long time.

Positioned in front of his Yamaha piano, J Roddy Walston was a cross between early James Hetfield and Jerry Lee Lewis as he headbanged and slammed the keys on his piano to start the show. Sourcing good old fashioned Southern Rock and infused with Blues, Gospel and various influences, J Roddy Walston and his crew did mean business.

Their cover of Lil Richard "Lucille" was tact sharp, yet played with reckless abandonment as if their were teetering over the edge of a cliff. The dancing keys of "Used to Did" had the throngs of fans in the crowd hoisting their beers in approval with its hard charging guitars and rumbling drums.

The bar saloon brawling of "Don't Break The Needle" had me looking out for flying beer bottles. J Roddy Walston and the Business will be back soon on 9/10 at the Detroit Bar and 9/12 at the Troubadour. Catch them now before its too late.

George Lopez

Very few bands get an introduction prior to walking on the stage. On this particular night, the House of Blues Anaheim curtains rolled back and comedian George Lopez came out to give a rousing introduction. This most likely will be the most random introduction of a band all year.


Exploding into another "Dimension", Wolfmother fed off the voracious energy from the crowd like a wild animal. The revamped line-up definitely sounded much fuller as the extra creamy distortion from Will Rockwell-Scott's gold top Les Paul nicely doubled Stockdale's pummeling riffs.

While Wolfmother often gets written off as classic rock recyclers, a handful of music awards from Australia and a Grammy is not a bad start for a young band. Their live show is where they capture the fans as Stockdale tends to be the focal point with his stage antics.

Barreling through songs like "Cosmic Egg" and "New Moon Rising", Wolfmother had their full swagger in effect. As if the House of Blues couldn't get any louder, the barn storming blare of "Woman" was deafening as members of the crowd sang along. Stockdale would proceed to do jump kicks to the down beats of "White Unicorn".

Stockdale is known for his ear piecing falsetto, yet his transition to the baritone vocal parts of their interlude of "Riders on the Storm" undoubtedly proved that he has the vocal chops. "California Queen" also had a mini Black Sabbath interlude before returning to its hard rocking sludge.

The guitars seemed to jangle faster for "Apple Tree" topped with a searing guitar solo as it seems that Stockdale has sharpened up his guitar tone compared to the other times I saw him live. Hypnotic swirls of organ for "Mind's Eye" made you envision psychedelic kaleidoscopes as the scent of illicit substances floated throughout the air.

A '60s time warped wah pedal intro for "Pilgrim" nicely melted into the runaway freight train riff that continued to stir the legions of fans. Stockdale was writhing on the floor for the high screeching notes of "Joker and The Thief" as Ian Peres slammed the notes on his keyboard.

In order to drive the point home, Wolfmother came back with a vicious version of "Vagabond" and an astounding cover of The Who's "Baba O'Riley". Wolfmother have a few more dates in Australia before they presumably head back into the studio to record a new album.

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