Wolf People - The Brudenell Social Club - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Wolf People - The Brudenell Social Club

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:

Tonight Wolf People will help the audience at the Brudenell Social Club collectively forget that they're in the early stages of 2012. No, tonight we'll be transported to a smoky bar, sometime in the 1970s. You'll want to grow your hair and buy a Neil Young-esque plaid shirt before the night is through…

Support tonight comes from Brighton-based Rise Above Records signings Diagonal. They play free-roaming, saxophone-led progressive-rock which isn't something you get to write in reviews too often these days. The set starts well and it's difficult not to be impressed by the level of musicianship on display. The guitarist looks like he's stepped straight out of the 70s and recalls all those old-hands-of-rock, like Floyds' David Gilmour and Zeppelins' Jimmy Page in his unabashed love of guitar heroics. The songs are complicated, labyrinthine beasts and clearly the work of musicians who bothered to learn that ever elusive third chord.

The saxophone is a funny instrument in rock circles but can definitely be seen in a new light once you've heard The Stooges Fun House or Leeds' very own These Monsters. Diagonal don't play like that, however. These are prog-rock songs in the vein of King Crimson and don't have much to do with Steve Mackay's bastardization of the sax on Fun House. It's a strong set, yet it defiantly borders on the ridiculous at times: When one song is introduced as 'Melancholic Terrine' (something like that anyway), it's hard to keep a straight face. At one point my friend comments that it's like watching the band in 80s teen-vampire flick Lost Boys (a classic piece of 80s cinema!). Silly but enjoyable stuff all the same.

The Brudenell seems to get a lot busier when it's time for Wolf People to come on stage, an impressive crowd for a band with only one full album under its arm. They don't disappoint. Playing tracks from their debut album Steeple and their recent singles/early recordings collection Tidings, Wolf People play 70s, folk-indebted rock so effortlessly it's hard to believe how young they all look. Tracks like the wonderful 'Silbury Sands' and personal favourite 'Cotton Strands' sound even more impressive live and I make a mental note to listen to Steeple a lot more.

The band are lose and natural, locked into a groove with each song. More and more people seem to push past me as the set goes on too, everyone wanting to get closer to the stage. The band are clearly in thrall to 70s rock icons, everyone from Neil Young to Fairport Convention gets a look in. Wolf People are far more than the sum of their influences, though; they're vital, raw and exciting and play an absolutely brilliant set. The songs are strong too, a combination of riff worship and ethereal folk-rock passages; they're limber compositions that never stick to a standard structure. For a band so early in their career, it's tantalising to think of what they'll be capable of in the future. Thoroughly authentic and completely entrancing, Wolf People live up to their live reputation.

Comments (1)

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Seems that the rather silly song title 'Melancholic Terrine' was actually a joke and the song was called 'Hulks'! Feel better for having laughed now...Diagonal set list in full; 1) Voyage/Paralysis 2) Hulks 3) Mitochondria 4) Capsizing.

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