Live Review: Guitar Wolf at Mighty Mighty, Wellington

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Guitar Wolf playing Stinkfest 2013

Mighty Mighty, Wellington

Thursday 12 December 2013

 

When the opening band has two drum kits and a gimp mask, you know that your night will either be really good, or really bad. Oddly enough, Guitar Wolf’s live show came under both categories. The music isn’t exactly what I’d call good, but they put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

Japan’s answer to the Ramones; Guitar Wolf are a caricature of all things rock and roll. (Or rather, lock and loll). The band has the image and sound down pat – clad in black leather and sunglasses and playing at breakneck speeds with volume levels to rival Spinal Tap.

Their set started with the singer, Seiji, asking for a beer from the crowd, which he promptly downed in one go. This set the tone for a wild night. One punter earned himself a spot as guest guitarist by winning a thumb wrestle with Seiji. A human pyramid was formed onstage. There was stagediving. One member of the audience sang his school song into the microphone. Seiji hit plastic balls into the crowd wielding his guitar like a cricket bat.

The music was pretty terrible, a torrent of noise and distortion. A shout of “One, two, three!” was the only way to distinguish where most songs started and finished. It was bordering on impossible to decipher anything Seiji said/sung with his thick Japanese accent. (“Did he just say Mt Victoria is poisoned!?”)
The thing that set this show apart from the rest is the band’s dedication to the lock. No matter how hot they got they wouldn’t remove their clothing. They were all dripping with sweat, but rockers wear leather! It almost seemed cartoonish. Drum Wolf (Toru) was a powerhouse with the endurance of a steam engine, and Bass Wolf (U.G.) held down a solid groove.

They gave it their all, continuously playing faster and louder. And when we thought it was over, the band kept coming back for more and more encores. This show was almost two years to the day since Guitar Wolf had last played in Wellington. And this time was just as memorable.

 

Joseph James

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