Wolf People - The Deaf Institute, Manchester - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Wolf People - The Deaf Institute, Manchester

by Miz DeShannon Rating: Release Date:

Having heard a lot of bands in the last few years harking back to the nostalgic sounds of classic rock and experimental psych-folk, I didn't think I could get any more excited by the resurgence of this kind of noise. Until I came across Wolf People some time ago, and their prudent modernisation of it, via the wonders of a Manchester promoter with a small venue and penchant for unusual music (Graham from Blowout, in case you know him).

Opening this show at the Deaf Institute with the beautiful a capella vocal of 'Morning Born', Jack's whistful and eloquent story-telling floats through the set amid beautiful guitar harmonies, sitar sounds, grungy bass ('Silbury Sand') and fuzzy feedback ('Cromlech') from guitarist Joe Hollick's lovely Thunderbird. They're the first UK band to be signed by the ever-popular US/Canadian label Jagjaguwar, who have quite a collection of folk-rock wonders on their books such as Besnard Lakes, The Cave Singers, and Black Mountain, who the band supported on a European tour last autumn.

It's easy to listen to what a band have to say about their history, their recording schedule, their enjoyment of their latest tour, but having to analyse what they do when they're on stage is sometimes a difficult task. Especially when you're confronted with a band with such eclectic tastes and influences as these guys.

The Wolf People sound has all the obvious comparisons of Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention because of riffs used in 'One By One from Dorney Reach', and flute parts in 'Tiny Circle' or 'Cotton Strands' (replaced in live shows with extra vocal harmonies due to the current absence of the flautist) but there's much more to describe throughout each song. Delicate jazz drumming, sometimes some funk beats, reminders of Jeff Beck guitar, and definite echoes of Mediaeval ballads in the tempo on songs like 'Banks of Sweet Dundee (Parts 1 & 2)' and 'Morning Born', all reflective of their long list of passions which range from old English fables about their home village to as far as drummer Tom's love of Scandinavian prog-jazz (check out their blog for more on that).

With a nervous question to the crowd half-way through ("Is it going alright?"), the lads had been lost in the music themselves; bassist Daniel looked in a dream for most of the set. Surely a sign of being truly absorbed in something: no nerves, and no prancing and preening, just real and darned good playing. I don't think I've been so sentimental about a gig in a long time.

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