9/12/14 – Brighton Music Hall

British alt-rockers, Wolf Gang, find a home away from home in Brighton Music Hall, having visited the venue three times in the band’s young career. Last Friday they made it four.

The room still echoed from Sir Sly, co-headliner for the night, and the crowd was more talkative than a troop of chimpanzees. Unfortunately, when the lights dimmed for Wolf Gang, only half the audience remained.

After bursting onto the stage and playing “Black River,” lead singer Max McElligott rasped that the band had to cancel last night’s show because his voice was shot. It was clear from song one that McElligott’s voice still wasn’t back to normal, his falsettos faint and trailing off, his sustained notes breaking apart. Even with the help of backing vocals, it was often difficult to hear the lyrics. The sound guy should have turned him up in the mix. Or at least handed him a Ricola.

What Wolf Gang lacked in vocal presence, they made up for in energy, their bassist jumping around stage, jamming with the drummer and keys player on tracks like “Stay and Defend,” definitely a syncopated David Byrne-/Talking Heads-influenced melody. The band is at their best performing upbeat, hook-driven songs, and is perhaps at a disadvantage in their live shows because of the superb production on their recorded material. Suego Faults, Wolf Gang’s 2011 debut album, was co-produced by the great Dave Fridmann (MGMT, The Flaming Lips, Weezer).

As Wolf Gang played ballad and title track, “Suego Faults,” images of middle school dances in gymnasiums came to mind. A few people even turned to their partner and began slow dancing. All that was left was for them to call their parents for a ride home.

When the group got around to playing their hit, “Lions in Cages,” only a few rows of people were there to hear it. After a one-song encore, people stepped into the cool night and patted their pockets for a cigarette.

Raspy Rock: Wolf Gang
Pros
  • Energetic bassist
  • Played catchy, clappable pop songs
Cons
  • Lead singer’s voice was shot from recent shows
  • After Sir Sly, half the crowd left; the ones that remained talked through the show
6.9Raspy Rock

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