Grammy Award-winning hard rock band Wolfmother last visited San Francisco at Outside Lands in 2010 and their general existence has been in limbo for the last 10 months.
Guided by manic guitarist and cacophonous lead vocalist Andrew Stockdale, Wolfmother could roughly be described as an Aussie version of The Whites Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age and Led Zeppelin all rolled up into one.
Recently the Sydney-based rockers made a triumphant return to the spotlight to end their temporary breakup after announcing a handful shows at select California venues, including this past Sunday at the Independent.
Their high-octane 15-song set opened with a thunderous version of “Dimension” and closed with their hit single “Joker and the Thief,” with plenty of classic shakers in between. Enthusiasm reigned during “Apple Tree,” a song that felt almost borderline punk rock, and a rousing rendition of “Vagabond” exposed the true range of the band while the audience fervently bounced along with each chant delivered.
There were only a couple minor audio fumbles and all four musicians weren’t always on the same page. It showed a slight bit of rust, but they made up for it with plenty of explosive extended solos on multiple tracks. Wolfmother tested just a few new tracks, each of which appear to maintain the same vigor as the rest of their material.
After both the band’s original bass/keyboard player and drummer resigned in 2008, most followers thought the breakthrough rock group might be in jeopardy. The original Wolfmother lineup released one album and six singles, while follow up album Cosmic Egg features three new members.
It’s been a confusing back and forth, with the album Keep Moving completed in early 2013, but released in March under Stockdale’s name alone. The band leader later reassured prospective fans that Wolfmother were on indefinite hiatus, but earlier this month that decision was unexpectedly reversed.
With their formal return now underway, the hope would be to have them appear at more and much larger venues with improved on-stage lighting and production effects to enhance the already electric experience.