The Wolf's Eyes Burn Blue In The O2
As the public crossed the threshold of the O2 Academy, the likes of Bill Withers and The Beatles waited with great patience to welcome the Bristolian’s into the soon-to-be psychedelic rock utopia.
For the Ohio-based Electric Citizen, there seemed to be a rite of passage when joining the group which included having a passion for seventies nostalgia and the necessity of long, flowing locks. Laura Dolan walks into the picture and greets the middle-aged crowd that had assembled with clusters of young adults hooting in response.
“Shallow Water” and “Magnetic Man” influenced a roll off the tongue trance through the first half of their performance that provoked loose limbs and pensive day dreaming, hypnotised by Laura’s unbridled movements and left helpless to listen to her gentle but Christie Hynde-esque flare of singing.
Nate Wagner’s ceaseless commitment to swinging his hair in a propeller fashion did not disturb his drumming (or his allurement to a camera lens) in the slightest. Randy Proctor sustained his “cool bassist” responsibility as he swayed in the rhythm of drum beats and Katie (their recently added keyboardist) may have followed suit but the etching of concentration she wore suggested nothing except a commitment to the keys.
The maracas of “Misery Keeper” were recognised and out burst the sensual solo work of Ross Dolan who had remained fairly tame up until that moment, slowly pulling the on-lookers out of their shells and developing genuine interest right up until they finished on a signature drum beat down before the final note was struck.
The venue had become congested by this point, with at least two attendees occupying every raised step and the main floor dwellers exchanging awkward smiles as they shuffled with a few centimetres separating them. The discomfited disposition fortunately did not last long however, as the backdrop eyes of the stalking wolf burned deep blue and out walked the three headline musicians.
Once equipped, the three met beside Alex’s kit and began chugging the first galloping notes of title track, “Victorious”, thrusting stage lights over the psychedelic scene as the rock idol grew from within.
The first few songs encapsulated Wolfmother and the long-established hook-heavy rhythms that have become somewhat of a tradition. Following their exciting opening, the cosmic egg cracked its casing to reveal “New Moon Rising”, with the seventh fret bend pulling in the faceless voices to sing not only the memorable lyrics but the captivating guitar riffs as well.
Andrew Stockdale’s high pitched wailing surpassed expectations while his Gibson guitar work was next to delectable. Storming through the material with a commanding presence, the air became electrified alongside Ian and Alex who turned out to be no slouches themselves.
In comparison to his chilled off-stage personality, Ian Peres came across as a man possessed by some manner of keyboard demon. Leaping with his best foot forward, the full of beans bassist held nothing back as he traded between instruments, playing the keyboard with excessive meticulousness one minute and then dominating the stage with his bass guitar the next. An impressive feat of playing both at once while singing easily earned him his fair share of justified recognition.
Challenging these two musicians meant reaching a bar that nearly caught the clouds but if there was a drummer more suitable for an attempt, it was Alex Carapetis. His technique took on a hit hard demeanour, which found great success beside the sharp jagged guitar strums and beefy bass plucks. His face remained concealed behind a thick pair of black aviators until the encore where he removed them, ready to lock eyes as he raised his sticks high to meet a colossal conclusion.
A penetrating twang and synth ring signified the “White Unicorn” would soon be coming over the not to distant horizon and the floor shuddering stomp that followed was felt pounding by all three tiers. A concerned thought grew towards the sturdiness of the balcony foundations as the stomping quickly transformed into bouncing as the band “drank from the serpents vine” and occasionally convened, forming a small world of their own.
“Dimension”, “Colossal” and an electric version of “Pretty Peggy” were but a few tracks from their back catalogue that the three-piece were rewarded with thunderous applause over, but none connected with the audience as strongly as their encore of “Vagabond” and “Joker And The Thief” did.
One last effort to drain the spectators of whatever energy remained proved successful as Mr Stockdale left the twelve fret ring out as they waved their goodbyes, eventually leaving nothing more than the ringing of guitar feedback to walk out on.