With a release rate of an album a year for the last four years – ‘Wolffpack’ (2021), ‘Tascam Tapes’ (2020), ‘Live & Outta Sight II’ (2019), and ‘Thrust’ (2018) – no-one can accuse Dutch psychedelic rock trio DeWolff of sitting around doing nothing. With heaps of time on their hands, thanks to the pandemic, the trio set about writing and recording studio album number 9 ‘Wolffpack’. The follow-up to the 2020 bargain bucket/own-label/no-frills ‘Tascam Tapes’…(“…recorded on the road for less than 50 Euros….but it sounds like a million bucks!”), is a full-on band album, the rich Hammond sound from Robin Piso is back where it belongs, and the end result is a kick-ass dance party full of groove and soul, as well as lashings of fuzzy guitar licks from Pablo van de Poel (guitar and vocals), and those lush vocal harmonies from both Pablo and Luka van de Poel (drums and vocals). The band launched the album with a Livestream which promised everyone a good time as long as they “stream the concert at maximum volume, put some nachos in the oven, make some guacamole, put on your dancing shoes, grab a beverage of your choice, and enjoy!”. And as the on-screen clock counted down to launch, the dancing shoes were dusted off ready to go, and the Anchorman Strike Team were assembled in preparation of busting some serious moves.
Recorded at the Tivoli Vredenburg with a funky-ass stage design (complete with mirror ball) and guests popping up throughout the 90-minute set, this was as close to the groovy TV shows of the late sixties/early seventies as it gets, in fact, the only thing missing was Austin Powers spinning around in a revolving waterbed. In their retro clothing, the band looks the part, tonight is not the night for blue jeans and black T-shirts. It’s a disco, but without a crowd. Opting to bypass playing the new album from start-to-finish in sequence, DeWolff instead mixes it up by dropping in older tracks around the new material. The set opens with the same two tracks that open ‘Wolffpack’; ‘Yes You Do’ and ‘Treasure City Moonchild’, the latter featuring a badass intro from Luka van de Poel (more cowbell!), a groovy-as-hell Hammond tone from Robin Piso and a sweet segue into a short, bluesy blast of the evergreen ‘Keep A-Knockin’ (But You Can’t Come In)’ made famous by Little Richard. The guitar work from Pablo van de Poel is killer throughout, but the sound that he coaxes out of his Gibson as the song ends is incredible.
Tracks from the new album continue with ‘Lady J’, where two female backing vocalists, Diwa Meijman and Kim Schulte, join the band (now fleshed out with Levi Vis on bass) to add some additional textures. Additional guitarist Stefan Wolfs joins on the cooler-than-cool ‘Sweet Loretta’ which ends with an audible “Niiiiiiiceee!” from Pablo van de Poel. On the disco-fuelled new single ‘Half Of Your Love’, Pablo dispenses his guitar and prowls the stage like a demented lounge singer on a track that shoulda-coulda been on any Guardians of The Galaxy soundtrack. How can you not dig a song which features a triangle solo? You can’t. ‘It Ain’t Easy’ from ‘Tascam Tapes’ is the first venture outside of the realms of the new album and slots in perfectly after ‘Half Of Your Love’, so much so they could have been separated at birth.
The band is joined by Arthur Akkermans on vocals and blues harp, and if you’ve ever imagined Kenny Powers, from the gonzo TV show ‘Eastbound & Down’, fronting a band, then this is the reality. Tight black trousers, American stars n stripes shirt open to the waist, gold chains, half a mullet, a Wolfman Jack voice, busting moves that Mick Jagger would shy away from – damn good fun! All Livestreams need some Kenny Powers! It’s a fantastic few minutes, and the momentum continues with the introduction of a three-piece horn section on ‘R U My Savior?’. More choice highlights would have to be the Allman Brothers tinged ‘Outta Step & Ill At Ease’ which features some beautiful interplay between Pablo van de Poel and guest guitarist Stefan Wolfs, and the hellacious three-man jam which blows minds during the closing track ‘Nothing’s Changing’. Sublime.
A damn fine 90-minutes to lift anyone out of the big blue funk hanging over the world at the minute, check out the free Livestream above, and connect with DeWolff here.
Review – Dave
Live images – Satellite June