The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY
October 11, 2013
Reviewed by Chris Sherman (Sky Picnic)
I don’t recall the exact chain of events that led me to the discovery of Wolf People in the autumn of 2010. I’d like to think of it as a happy accident though, as the Steeple LP became a permanent fixture on my turntable. Their brand of progressive folk, with narratives that sit well alongside dark stories straight out of ancient British novels, is exquisitely classic sounding; it is full of warmth, rather welcoming and oddly comforting, which is contrasted by heavy passages that keep the listener on edge. Earlier this year, the band released their latest Fain, which picks up where the previous left off, but adding a more fully realized sound to their cannon, and by far one of the top releases of 2013.
On Friday night I was lucky enough to see them live at their first ever United States gig. Over the course of nearly 70 minutes, we heard about half of each of their full-lengths; the crowd loved every second, and the band did not disappoint, despite this being the first night of the tour. “I though New Yorkers were supposed to be loud. You have a reputation as such, but are quite the opposite” Jack Sharp (vocals/ guitar) jokingly remarked at the head of their set. From there the band launched into “Silbury Sands,” the lead track off Steeple, and upon its conclusion, immediately led to a chorus of cheers. Personal favorite “When the Fire is Dead In the Grate” followed; it a cornucopia full of heavy riffery that had heads bobbing and made this guitarist just want to go home and practice his chops. Single “All Returns” was played with such perfection one would assume it had been part of their set list for years.
The band then tore through two songs from Steeple, and, this is probably as good a time as any to mention that the renditions played Friday from it absolutely bested their studio counterparts. These guys took those pieces to another level, especially evident in what I would consider the standout from the set, “Morning Born”/ “Cromlech”. The guitar solos by Joe Hollick in the jammier sections not only were extremely tight and mind blowing, they also sounded top notch, running through a vintage Fender cabinet and a series of effects pedals that particularly had my ear all evening.
With the close of the main set, the crowd was able to bring Wolf People back out for a quick encore, and the playing of “NRR”, which was the perfect conclusion to the evening, and a sort of summary of the events that just transpired. I was able to chat up both Jack and Dan after the set. They are extremely excited to be in the United States (their first time ever leaving Europe) and were quite pleased with the show and the crowd. Unfortunately, this is a only quick two-week blast of shows through the eastern portion of the States only, and then it’s back to day jobs and life in the UK. But for the time being, catch Wolf People should they hit your town, as enough cannot be said about their live show.
When the Fire Is Dead in the Grate
One By One From Dorney Reach