3rd October 2012
It wasn’t until my usual January 2012 aggregation of the best of 2011 lists, that I had a terrible shock and surprise. For I found that the blistering electronic hard rockers TurboWolf had released their Debut LP including the best tunes from the numerous live sets of their I’d been to. As a big fan of their unique synthesised brand of Zep gone Sabbath, I eeked it onto the runners-up despite onyl having a couple of spins. The habit of odd timing seems to have continued until this night when nearly 10 months after its release TurboWolf were promoting it alongside a new covers EP. Still stuck in Newcastle, I headed to the Academy again this time into the smaller “Academy2” back room. A small and intimate venue with disgustingly sticky carpets on the micro-balcony.
It was nowhere near full as Black Moth took to the stage. Female fronted Stoner Rock pulled all the standard fare of the genre with slow and melodic bluesy guitars played through deep swampy amps low enough to send shockwaves through your ears right down to your boots. The slow building riffs so often exploded into glorious thunderclaps of noise the lead vocalist attempted to have her voice heard (a rare feat). This was essentially Stoner by Numbers, but there was a spark whenever lead guitar started meandering into another extended melodic solo. A good performance but unlikely to be more than a good Stoner band.
Turbowolf on the other hand have carved out a signature sound which is both massive and varied pulling from electronic synths, dizzying riffs and killer hooks. Unveiling their stage prop, a giant Egyptian head you immediately feel this band are something a little different from your usual hard rock crop. Eccentricity is something lead singer Chris Georgiadis has in abundance as his hippy locks and rainbow wardrobe attest to. His screeches are key to the bands driving sound which whilst not the most tuneful, set the dials to panic and chaos whilst delivering a shot of adrenaline into each energetic punked up tune. There was barely a duff song all night as they flung themselves head first into each tune, enthusiastically bounding around, barely contained by the small space, resulting in a (carefully orchestrated) stage dive (who wants to land in thin air after all?).
Big unrelentingly heavy riffs Sabbath would be proud of, played with punk’s speed and intensity were showcased on highlight tunes A Rose For The Crow’s, snyth driven Read & Write, head crusher Bag of Bones, and stop/start loud/soft accentuated The Big Cut. They were just as adept at sprawling prog outs and mellowed out toe tappers such as Son(Sun) which added yet another Zeppy angle to their sound.
With a new Covers EP out they hit up a few of these re-inventions, some more effective than others. Captain Caveman (Lightning Bolt) was a mess of fuzz and didn’t really grab he but their high octane version of Jefferson Airplane’s Somebody to Love was a quite the opposite, as was the trip skuzz of MGMT ‘s Electric Feel. Turbowolf signed off the evening with their most jubilant, howling rock attack, Let’s Die which sparked furious reactions from the crowd, many of whom are probably now suffering from whiplash. An allout aural assault, just superb!