The visual experience – beads of sweat rolling down Jordan Cook’s face as he carved ruthless licks into his guitar strings (which also took a beating from his mic stand and the ceiling), all three members of Reignwolf dripping with energy and colliding like storms – was not nearly as powerful as their sound. Touring on their just-released and life-altering new album, Hear Me Out, the badass blues rockers gave Brooklyn a performance that couldn’t have sounded better on Sunday night, Cook’s voice dancing between vicious whisper and elegant roar. Compared to the impact of the music, things like the whole band jumping down from the stage, hauling their instruments with them, and rocking out with a tight cluster of fans on the floor at Baby’s All Right were just small details.
The suspense had been building for hours, and local openers Them Fangs had their work cut out for them appeasing such a hungry crowd. The 3-piece started jamming with grins and cheering back at the room, serving up eleven rock songs that were fast, fun, and designed to make you move. The groovy basslines built by Artur Novoselsky popped, especially on the catchy “Mind Controllers” and their latest single, “Life Do Change.” Drummer Andrea Belfiore was really fun to watch as he ripped up his set, and singer/guitarist Garrett Cillo kept it all bundled together with his cool vocals and solos.
There were secrets to Reignwolf’s set that could not be fully explained, including Jordan Cook’s pedals and their configuration. During their savage Brooklyn performance, he kept both of his pedalboards shrouded in black fabric, even when in use, taking care to conceal them during a show that was wild and reckless in every other sense. When you hear all the unique sounds he achieves, though, it makes sense that he might want to keep the magic under wraps. Giving Brooklyn a fresh setlist that differed from the night before in NYC, Reignwolf flew into action on the memorable “Over & Over,” with “Alligator” and “Black and Red” fast to follow. Each song was a whole new treat as ghost-like clouds gushed out of the smoke machines and lingered around the band like extra spectators. By this point, Cook was grinding his guitar frets on his mic stand, cutting his lyrics like diamonds, and delivering them like daggers. S.J. Kardash was navigating the whole stage as his fingers tore up his bass, and drummer Joseph Braley was pounding out snappy rhythms that sliced everything into perfect pieces.
“I want the vocals as loud as they fucking go,” Cook urged their sound guy just before one of their best showstoppers, “Keeper,” and you can imagine how nicely that request paid off. It was during this scorcher that Cook’s hat flew off his head in the wake of his own guitar solo, the whole band was perspiring, and fans were half-frantic and fully-psyched trying to keep track of all the action. “Fools Gold” and the addictive “Wanna Don’t Wanna” came next in a fit of pure-rock energy, and time started to move too quickly as the audience enjoyed Reignwolf’s heart-racing sound. Adding to the rush of his stunning vocals on “Son of a Gun,” Cook performed the song balancing on top of his wolf-emblazoned bass drum at the front of the stage.
The swarm of cameras and phones around the room was beastly; you could hardly breathe without bumping into some kind of recording device or body part, and yet, the band moved all over Baby’s All Right like it was their own dark water park; climbing up on the banister on the side of the room, finding creative ways to abuse their gear, and diving into the welcoming crowd for their last two songs. First, Cook brought his one-man bass drum down to the floor and encouraged one of many ecstatic fans to keep the beat during “Electric Love.” Then, Brooklyn clearly got a spur-of-the-moment surprise when Cook confessed, “We kept saying we weren’t gonna do this, but we wanna get right there.” He pointed at a portion of the floor packed with people, and the band started breaking down the drum set and setting everything up in that spot.
From the floorboards of Baby’s, surrounded in smiles and screams, they played their final song, “Are You Satisfied?” and by that point, truth be told, it was a complicated question. Reignwolf’s Brooklyn show – which culminated in the guys balancing and reaching high to scrape their instruments on the ceiling – was truly a moment in concert history and a rock lover’s dream; to want any more after that would have been greedy. But we immediately did. It seems impossible not to crave more at the end of a Reignwolf show.
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley