It was the year 2005, and Wolfmother’s debut self-titled album released and refueled the grittier sounds of Hard Rock. Selling over one million copies and released acclaimed hits including “Joker & The Thief,” which was featured in 2009’s The Hangover, the Australian band has built a name as one of Rock’s most respected acts, going multi-platinum on several albums, and playing to sold out crowds around the world. Frontman and founder Andrew Stockdale has been the driving force of the band since the formation in the early 2000s, and continues to be to this day. While there was an absence of Wolfmother following 2009’s Cosmic Egg, Stockdale took the time to put out a solo record in 2013, entitled Keep Moving, before returning with Wolfmother in 2014 with the self-release of New Crown. While Wolfmother has sustained lineup changes and the said short hiatus, Stockdale picked up from how the band started quickly and used that drive in 2015 to create yet another Wolfmother album, entitled Victorious, which was released on February 19, 2016 via Universal Music.
The band’s fourth overall album finds them topping charts once again and peaking the interest of not only dedicated fans, but no one as well. In promotion of the new material Wolfmother kicked off an extensive tour through both North America and Europe. The North American trek began on February 24th in Minneapolis, MN and concludes on April 1st in Vancouver, Canada, but not before on the seventh night of the tour when Wolfmother stopped in New York City on Thursday March 3rd. A long overdue visit for the band, they would be greeted by a sold out old crowd Webster Hall’s Grand Ballroom with opening support from Los Angeles Rockers Deap Vally.
The venue was nearly packed from the get-go when it was time for Deap Vally to hit the stage. Deap Vally, spelled incorrectly on purpose, formed by two women, Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards, in 2011, where they met at a crochet class in Los Angeles. The two realized they had two things in common; creating crochet and creating music. Stylistically, they have been known to resemble a mix between The White Stripes, Led Zeppelin, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Deap Vally has already toured in Europe, Australia, opened up for Muse, and performed at the major music festival Coachella. Recently working hard in the studio to create the follow-up to their acclaimed debut, 2013’s Sistrionix, they released the new single of “Royal Jelly” last Fall. In addition to creating, Edwards has taken a break from touring as she has been on maternity leave due to the recent birth of her baby. Liv Marsico of Stone Darling filled in on drums and backing vocals for Edwards. These Rockers are known for switching up their image with different hairstyles and fashion wear. This evening was no different as Troy walked on the stage in the animalistic form of a ’90s style leopard print jumpsuit with black tassels hanging from the sides.
Opening up the night with an edgier and Garage Rock sound, “Bad For My Body” and “Baby I Call Hell,” from Sistrionix, had fans dancing along. Troy focused on performing as they continued with “Little Baby Beauty Queen” and “Raw Material.” While the set was moving with a heavier beat, the pace slowed down during “Smile More (Reflection),” which added a Jazzy vibe to the mix. Slowness did not last long; the set picked up again with “Walk of Shame” as the crowd enthusiastically responded to this piece. Troy took a moment to thank the audience and gave a shout out to Wolfmother for having them be part of the tour and moved into “End of the World” followed by “Gonna Make My Own Money.” Troy thanked the crowd for one last time as she informed the fans that they will be at the merchandise booth to hang out and drink with their new, New York fans. Shortly after, she jumped onto the drum kit for the beginning of “Royal Jelly.” This set showcased an earlier Yeah Yeah Yeahs feel mixed with the Garage influence of Sonic Youth. Hopefully, the sophomore album will soon be released.
As the crowd warmed up with the rebellious Punk-Garage Rock energy, it was time for main attraction Wolfmother to hit the stage. The backdrop, along with the drum kit, displayed the latest Victorious look as an image of an actual Wolf glowed out towards the crowd. Stockdale, Bassist Ian Peres, and touring drummer Alex Carapetis seemed to appear magically on the stage as they moved rapidly about as the set opened up with the titled track “Victorious,” followed by “New Moon Rising,” from 2009’s Cosmic Egg. With Stockdale, as well as Peres, moving around vigorously, the exhilaration of the crowd was heightened when they went into the hit classic of “Woman.” It was during this song when the floor shook, and a few fans even managed to lose their balance from the ruckus. The mood of the room was a mix between Punk Rock, Hard Rock, and Garage Rock, where there were different enjoyable reactions from the crowd as the set continued with another classic of “Apple Tree.”
Taking a moment to catch his breath, Stockdale spoke to the crowd by announcing the next tune, stating how it was from their “new crap,” and “The Love That You Give” from Victorious ripped in. Hardly rubbish at all, the momentum did not let go as another classic soon followed the newer song with “White Unicorn.” As the set was about halfway through, “California Queen” came in, adding a jamming vibe where many fans rocked out, raised their drink in the air, and cheered throughout. Then, taking the crowd by surprise, “How Many Times,” from 2014’s New Crown, rang in next. Excited by the tracks played thus far, Stockdale took a moment to introduce his bandmates and thanked the audience for coming out to the show. Then, keeping the show moving along, the trippy “Gypsy Caravan,” from Victorious, and “Dimension,” from their self-titled debut followed, to positive reactions.
Moving towards a calm and clear direction, Stockdale thanked the fans once again and introduced another new tune by the name of “The Simple Life.” Slowing the pace down once more, with the hypnotizing introduction of the classic “Mind’s Eye,” Stockdale and his band knew exactly how to keep the music dynamic and inviting. This morphed into an ’80s Hard Rock melodic breakdown where a few spectators managed to headbang. At this point, the audience crazily cheered, and Stockdale pumped them up even more when he asked, “Are you ready to get Heavy New York?” Reacting with an even louder scream, the monstrous song “Colossal” concluded the main portion of the set.
Each member drifted off the stage as the crowd begged to hear more and cried out, “One more song!” A few moments later, the classic “Vagabond” came in as Wolfmother mysteriously returned on the stage. Stockdale knew exactly what the fans wanted as he conversed with the audience, stating, “Only one place left to go down.” Thereafter, he continued to mention how the next song turned into a huge hit . Of course fans grew wild knowing he saved the best for last with the acclaimed “Joker & The Thief.” The sold out crowd continued to move around as Wolfmother held a grand instrumental finale before Stockdale looked into the sea of people and casually said, “See you next time.”
Fans were offered a delightful treat as they were fortunate to be able to hear quite a few back to back songs from the self-titled debut album as though time moved back ten years earlier. Meanwhile, the fresh tunes from Victorious fit well with the classic Wolfmother cuts as Stockdale originally intended during the making of the record. Wolfmother will be heading out on a European tour shortly after the North American trek, but there are plenty of dates left to see them. With that said, do not miss a chance to check out this Rock-n-Roll experience and dig into what Victorious is all about.