By Pat Gunther
In the year 2000, vocalist and guitarist Andrew Stockdale birthed Australian hard-rock band Wolfmother, who takes the Varsity stage on May 14 at 8 p.m. After years of obscurity, in which the three-piece group spent the majority of their time jamming in Australia hoping to secure a deal, they finally struck gold in the form of a record deal with Modular Recordings in 2004. Since then, however, their hard work has paid off as the group has exploded in notoriety across the globe.
By 2007, Wolfmother had enjoyed their first taste of success after the Australian Recording Industry Association had certified their debut, self-titled album, which was released on Modular in 2005, five-times platinum. Since then Wolfmother has gained recognition for their impressive efforts, including a Grammy nod for “Best Hard Rock Performance” in 2007 for the song “Woman,” which in his acceptance speech Stockdale described as, “Just amazing.”
Following the release of their 2009 sophomore effort Cosmic Egg, Wolfmother has continued to hone their signature sound of extended, Sabbath-like guitar riffs united by Stockdale’s ability to take listeners on an aurally psychedelic journey.
“I did a yoga class and one of the poses we were doing was called ‘cosmic egg,’ and I thought, Yeah, that’s it. It’s like the fetal pose,’” Stockdale told NME in 2009. Though many feel that their follow-ups pale in comparison to Wolfmother, the trio continues to evolve while staying true to the classic rock influences that they playfully imitate.
Despite a five year recording hiatus, Wolfmother finally delivered a long awaited LP to their devoted fans titled New Crown, in 2014. The record, which still bears the signature Wolfmother energy that thrust the band into the spotlight of rock music nearly a decade ago, allowed them to feel more free. “I’m not on a record deal, I can put my songs on iTunes for fifteen bucks” Stockdale told TripleM.com in 2014. “I said to my accountant ‘I’m off the grid man, never gonna be in the charts, it’s over, never gonna win another award forget it, stuff it, we’re just gonna get our music out there.’”
The pounding drum work and epic cymbal crashes, coupled with heavy bass licks sets the background quite nicely for Stockdale’s haunting, siren like voice and shredding guitar.
The energy that Wolfmother has maintained throughout the course of a decade has been a staple of their work, which brings listeners back to the golden age of rock n’ roll with the progression of every track.
Whether it is the thrashing guitar riffs of tracks such as “Joker & The Thief” or the commercially successful, catchy single “Woman,” you can be certain Wolfmother will come equipped with a steady cache of both the classics and their new material. Though fans may be stuck in the styling of the Wolfmother of yesteryear, the group has improved in a number of areas with the release of each record. Stockdale’s lyricism has made a huge jump since 2005, while the additions of Ian Peres on bass and keyboard, and Vin Steel on drums has created a sonic cohesion fans have not seen since their debut.
In order to experience the face-melting guitar, or spine tingling bass reverberating through massive speakers, you would be best served to catch Wolfmother when they make a trip to the Varsity on May 14th. The frequent mosh-pits, wildly loud instrumentation and incredible dynamics of Stockdale’s voice are not done justice through your earphones or computer speakers and, for any fan of pure, unabashed, and solo-ridden rock music, catching Wolfmother live is something that one just cannot pass up.
Three Wolfmother songs to check out before the show
1) “Vagabond” – Wolfmother: One of Wolfmother’s less sonically intense tracks, Vagabond evokes thoughts of Zeppelin’s Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp with its pounding kick drum and folky guitar work that builds up to a bonafide feel good jam.
2) “Joker and The Thief”- Wolfmother: Probably their most popular single, “Joker And The Thief” perfectly summarizes Wolfmother’s early Black Sabbath comparisons with the consistent guitar shredding and Stockdale’s raw falsetto throughout.
3) “Tangerine Dream”- New Crown: Off of their latest effort, the penultimate track is reminiscent of an angsty cut off of Sgt. Pepper, laden with the signature Wolfmother guitar marcato.