Wolfmother Rocks The Vine

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Bendigo doesn't see too many big Australian bands outside of the annual Groovin' The Moo festival. Sure, we've played host to Silverchair, Powderfinger and The Living End in the past but it's been a few years between drinks for this part of the world. So it came as a surprise to be woken last Friday to the news that Grammy award winning neo-psychedelic rockers, Wolfmother, were on the road to Sydney and were stopping by our sleepy burg that night.

I'd seen these guys two and a half times in the past (half because I'd bought a ticket to see them play at Kryal Castle in Ballarat but couldn't make it through the support act because of a severe hangover) and was severely burnt after their lacklustre performance at Big Day Out 2012. A voice in my head screamed at me to go for the simple reason that an intimate gig by an international act in this town just doesn't happen.

Thinking that I'd be one of a select few that wanted to see Andrew Stockdale and his hired guns, I figured turning up an hour before the scheduled appearance left plenty of time to see the support acts and acclimatise to the atmosphere inside the Golden Vine. Imagine my surprise when I was left out in the cold, waiting for someone to leave the packed house. When I was eventually let in the line stretched to the end of the block.

A swift beer and twenty minutes later, Stockdale and co appeared on what could have been the tiniest stage they've appeared on in ten years to rapturous applause. Instead of absorbing too much of the atmosphere, the band blazed straight into blues-rock fury of Dimension. Not making much room for small talk Stockdale and troops belted out a few new ones, Long Way To Go and Keep Moving. The latter would have to be a reference to vocalist Stockdale's desire to forge a new life under his own name instead of the Wolfmother moniker. These new songs are straightforward three-and-a-half-minute rockers, readymade for commercial rock radio. That's definitely not a dig at the songs, they're fucking brilliant!

The remaining sixty minutes is lost in a neo-retro fuzz. They play Love Train, Apple Tree and New Moon Rising. By now, the Friday night punters are going mental and the crowd surfers are out in force. By the time set closer Vagabond was played, Stockdale had them eating out of his hand, even dishing out high fives to the first few rows. 

There's no denying that Wolfmother has always worn their influences on their tie-dyed sleeves, harking back to 70's monoliths that are Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. They've always had their detractors because of that, but Wolfmother have always strove to build their own creative path, even if it's not far from the source.

Rounding out the night was The Joker and The Thief, sending the venue on a psychedelic sonic rocket into the stratosphere. If this tour is the start of Andrew Stockdale's long climb back to the top of the rock n roll mountain, then the two hundred people that turned up to a small pub on a cold night in Bendigo would have left the building very happy to be at the beer soaked base camp.
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This page contains a single entry by Keegs Scilini published on June 2, 2013 3:15 PM.

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