British symphonic rock/pop band Wolf Gang rolled into Hell’s Kitchen’s Stage 48 a couple weeks ago and brought their dance rock to full force. Having just released new single ‘Lay Your Love Down’ earlier in the week, the four-piece was full of energy and sheer enjoyment of playing live in front of a very receptive New York crowd.
Their 45-minute set included dance-friendly rock songs including ‘Black River’, ‘Stay And Defend’, ‘Back to Black’, and ‘Lions in Cages’. All of which are produced and orchestrated well enough to give promise to modern bands that alternative rock is very much alive. The band has an incredibly strong live sound, even with lead singer Max McElligott having to sing with a bad cold. Turns out Max lost his voice after the show resulting in a cancelation the next night and a steroid prescription to get his vocals muscles back to full strength to finish out the tour.
Wolf Gang’s sound comes from a mixture of modern pop themes and alt-rock influences like The Naked & Famous, Coldplay, and The Killers (bands in which Wolf Gang has spent time opening for in the past). I was able to speak with Max a few days after their show to talk about what it’s been like playing on the same bill with those acts and the new album coming out in the fall.
P&W: Your 2nd album is scheduled to come out this fall correct? Finishing tracking?
Max: The album’s good to go. It’s all done recording and tracking and should be ready very soon. We were really lucky to have a chance to work with Flood on the album; he’s got such an amazing ear for getting the most out of bands.
Flood, for all you un-educated music fans, is the popular pseudonym for highly accomplished alt-rock music producer Mark Ellis. Ellis has produced and worked on projects and albums with Thirty Seconds To Mars, The Killers, multiple U2 albums, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, and more. Basically it’s a British badass.
P&W: Can you talk a little bit on what it was like working with Flood
Max: Man we were very lucky to be able to work with him for four months. He’s incredibly personable and a real genius, those are tough to come by. He would be producing already by coming to our pre-recording rehearsals, just listening in on where songs were at in the early stages.
P&W: You’ve opened for some big acts so far including Coldplay, The Killers, Florence. What are some things you learned spending time around artists like that?
Max: You learn something every time. The Coldplay tour was a month long and it was just a month of learning from the best. I feel like the bigger the bands are the more relaxed they are. They were so kind and lending us equipment we didn’t have.
P&W: Do you like touring around the US? Favorite cities?
Max: New York City is great. I think people have a very honest mentality there, which fits me very well. Austin is also very amazing; it’s a kind of place where anything is possible. It feels like a film when you’re walking down 6th Street in and everyone’s wearing cowboy hats (laughs). But there’s music pouring out of every orifice. Everywhere you look there’s a musician playing a guitar. It’s so brilliant and so inspiring.
Article by: Tom Shackleford
Photos by: Jenna Pinch
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