HOT DAMN! Wolfmother returned to headline a show in Auckland and what a return it was! The Aussie three-piece hard-rock band annihilated the Powerstation with an energy that is rivalled by no other.
Wolfmother has been on quite an epic journey, from the commercial heights of the mid-2000’s to a series of line-up changes that saw Head Wolf Andrew Stockdale remaining as the only original member and releasing a solo album instead. With the release of 2014’s album New Crown, which achieved wide critical and commercial acclaim, and their follow-up album, Victorious, the band has found their stride again and is hitting new heights – and it was in support of that new release that a sold out Powerstation greeted the band with wild cheering last Friday night.
Last here back in February, in support of Guns n Roses, the band walked out on stage, and after a quick “Auckland!”, Wolfmother ripped into the first song of their set – Victorious. The first few bars of the Queen-meets-Sabbath-like song hit you in the face like a brick, and the crowd was immediately whipped into a frenzy, launching themselves at the barriers and each other like an unstoppable moshing beast. Wolfmother has hardcore fans in Auckland, there is no doubt about that.
Frontman Andrew Stockdale’s vocal range is impressive, and that signature howl that fuelled more than a few parties in my early twenties is still there in full force. Oh, and that infamous afro, I’m glad to report, it’s as big and fluffy as ever. Stockdale appears to be a man of few words, keeping his crowd interaction to a minimum preferring to let his excellent guitar and vocals do the talking for him. Mostly glued to the floor, with a stare that seemed fixed to the back of the room, his stoic performance did nothing to detract from the energy of the crowd, who were barely able to contain themselves by the time the third song of the night “Woman” – one of the band’s earliest hits – roared through the venue. Everyone in the crowd, as well as the band, were electrified.
Keyboardist and bassist, Ian Peres, flew across the stage like an electrocuted rag doll before returning to his keyboard to show off his dual wielding skills of playing keyboard and bass side by side. An absolute joy to watch! Peres is a show stopper and Wolfmother are a band that must be experienced live if not just to see him in action.
As an appreciator of percussion, I was excited to see Alex Carapetis’ drumming (he had previously toured for acts such as Phoenix and Nine Inch Nails), and was surprised when former drummer, Hamish Rosser (previously of The Vines) appeared on stage instead. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise as Rosser’s drumming was sharp and powerful, faithfully recreating the high-energy of the studio albums, while adding a little somethin’-somethin’ more.
Wolfmother started like they meant it, bringing their A-game and delivering the magic with an electrifying hit to the face. They were out for blood and they got it as the crowd responded with enormous applause time and time again.
Touching upon every album in their impressive back catalogue, all the classics, from “Joker and the Thief”, “Woman”, and “White Unicorn”, to a few fan-favourite deeper cuts such as “New Moon Rising” appeared throughout the night. There was no fluff and no filler and Wolfmother refused to take the pedal off the gas throughout the evening.
Caught up in the pulsating music on display and the raucous crowd’s response, the set, while sixteen songs long, appeared to be over in the blink of an eye. The Powerstation was still in the mood to party though and the band hadn’t even left the stage after finishing with “Dimension” before the chants of “one more song” were filling up the venue.
The band obliged (as they were always going to), returning shortly after to deliver the highlight of the night, their barnstorming classic “Joker & The Thief”. This time it was Stockdale who was bringing the energy, stomping wildly across the stage, with the crowd lapping up every second of it.
This was a wild night, this was pure – balls to the walls – rock n’ roll, and was a joy to watch. Wolfmother gave their loyal fans their money’s worth with a set that was bound to win them plenty of new ones too!
New Moon Rising
The Love That You Give
How Many Times
Where Eagles Have Been
The Simple Life
Joker & The Thief [encore]
- Tight setlist - no fluff and no filler
- Stockdale's vocals & guitar
- Peres' wild showmanship
- Poor opening act
- Average lighting and staging
- Minimal crowd interaction