Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reignwolf at Brillobox - July 30, 2014 - Photos and Concert Review

Jordan Cook AKA Reignwolf at Brillobox 7/30/14. All photos (c) PMR.
Absolute. Insanity.

I'm reeling right now. I feel like I just woke up from a fever dream. I'm drenched in sweat and my ears are ringing. If I looked in the mirror I think my pupils would be as big as dimes.

There's no way I just saw what I think I saw at Brillobox.

Did I just see a man playing lead guitar ride while riding piggyback on the rhythm player?

Did I just hear some of the dirtiest guitar riffs and finger taps of my life – performed with the lights off?

Did I see a man play his guitar and a drum kit at the same time, then play his guitar with the drumstick?

Yes, yes, yes. All that happened, and so much more. Jordan Cook, aka Reignwolf, absolutely blew the roof off Brillobox Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.

My expectations were sky high for this performance after seeing what the man was capable of on Youtube. But this was another level altogether. Cook was a force of nature on stage, shredding from the moment he took the stage at a quarter to eleven. Within 90 seconds, he was standing atop his kick drum, head nearly touching the the ceiling, playing with a reckless disregard for his safety and that of his guitar strings. (Cook ended up in one piece, but half of his guitar strings didn't make it to the end of the night.)

Cook has an incredible, bluesy growl – hence Rolling Stone's assertion that Cook can't decide between being Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.

Why not both?

He certainly fits the mold of someone meant to wield the hammer of the gods, what with his sharply-angled sideburns and beard, leather jacket, and long tangled strands of jet-black hair sweeping down over his face. He's also exceedingly polite, as he thanked the crowd again and again for turning out.

A few numbers were performed with just Cook onstage, but I actually preferred the songs bolstered by a drummer and bass player/rhythm guitarist. The trio was tight as a snare drum, despite the absolute bedlam happening on and around the stage.

Is anyone surprised the drummer looks like Mitch Mitchell?

"Are you Satisfied?" might just be this generation's "Are you Experienced?"

It was almost all original numbers, including the three big Reignwolf hits so far – "Bloody Sunday," "Are You Satisfied," and "In the Dark." There was, however, a Johnny Winter cover dedicated to the recently deceased legend, "the only man that I was ever afraid of," according to Cook.

By night's end Cook had played front and center on the floor within the crowd, atop the amps, and atop the drum kit again and again. The cymbals toppled over at least twice, same with the snare drum. And instead of an encore, Cook, citing the incredible heat onstage the sold out upstairs room, moved his amp and plugged in over by the stairs, where he performed a few numbers by the door and from inside the stairwell itself, surrounded by fans who couldn't believe that this man could still be playing.

"Is there a place to plug in over there by the bar?" he asked. "How about in the bathroom?"

While Cook was dragging his amp across the floor to perform this second jam, I asked a woman with the band, who was busy protecting the stage from looters (at this point it looked like a tornado swept through), if there was a setlist I could take a photo of. "Oh," she laughed, "there's no setlist."

"That's the best part."

So how long until that first album drops?

And let's not forget about the opener! Local guys Shaky Shrines set the mood with a high-octane set of garage-y psych rock that reminded me of Night Beats, who headlined at Brillo late last year. I'm a sucker for psychedelic rock, especially the heavier kind, so I can't want to hear more from these guys in the near future. In fact, you can catch them this Sunday at Roboto. 

Here are some photos from what was easily the concert of the summer, if not the entire year:


  1. Good review, but I actually preferred to the solo performance over band. If the show had a theme, it was the remarkable musicianship of Reignwolf. It may be because I’m getting old (haha), but I found the volume to be too loud to appreciate all the subtleties in his playing, so adding in drums and bass somewhat took away from the performance for me.

    That was one of the most impressive displays I’d ever seen that. That said, it may be a little early to call him the next Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaugh, Jack White, Jimmy Page. While no one will confuse SRV with Dylan, song writing is important, so hopefully we’ll get a full album soon.

    1. Well said on both points. I think you may be right about the lyrics. Gary Clark Jr. was incredible live, but his studio album was a mixed bag. It could be that Reignwolf's handlers are drawing things out so that the songwriting chops can catch up with the admittedly incredible guitar playing. Regardless, it will be a long time before I see something like that again!

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