Review by Jasmine Gailer, Photography by Kylie Cobb, published also in Issue #17 of MouthZoff Magazine
Jasmine Gailer wouldn’t kick Phil Barlow & The Wolf out of bed for having big ears and sharp teeth following the band's recent single launch at Brisbane’s Beetle Bar.
The words ‘for the love of music’ popped into my head on Saturday evening as I drove home from the thumping performance by Phil Barlow & The Wolf at The Beetle Bar in Brisbane. People say if you love what you do then you’ll never work a day in your life. Well the proof was in the proverbial pudding on Saturday night when this four-piece rock/blues band stole the show like Butch Cassidy on a midnight train with an intense, passionate performance.
Following strong openers by The Royales, Don & The Mobsters and newcomers, Electric Suede, Phil Barlow & The Wolf demanded attention from the first note. The band played an hour-long set of mostly new tracks with a few favourites from their Phoenix Rising album. The band started strong and hard with Hit the Road and drew the mingling crowd straight to the front and centre.
A quickly captivated audience were treated to a run of robust rock/blues tracks that forced our limbs to move and created an overwhelming urge to “yewp yewp yeeeoowl!!” at the end of every song.
I’ve seen Phil Barlow perform solo acoustic gigs and he is undoubtedly a talented musician. But Phil Barlow & the Wolf’s plugged-in performance as a band was something else entirely. The energy they produced was contagious. Being emerging artists playing near midnight, they didn’t have a large audience to feed off. But from the front row I could have sworn that there was a crowd of thousands behind me.
The group is quite aptly named, as Phil’s unique style includes grungy vocals and wolfish growls while a cheeky grin rarely leaves his face.
If he is the ‘big bad wolf’ then I have no doubt there were a few wannabe Red Riding Hoods in the audience, this reporter one of them, who wouldn’t kick him out of bed for having big ears and sharp teeth.
Scott French on lead guitar was entertaining to say the least with a quirky dance style that at first made me laugh and then sucked me in to the pure wreckless joy of it, while he blew my mind with some sensational guitar licks. He bounced seamlessly off Regotron on the bass while Michael tore it up on the drums, at one point pounding the symbols so hard one went flying. But at no point did the wolf pack break formation, always in sync and relentlessly chasing down good music as the prey…
The set was rounded off nicely with their new single Faith or Fear that was released this month, followed by a rip-roaring Bold Sea Eagle. Phil finished the final song and said, “oh no, we forgot to howl” to which the audience responded with a hearty “one more!” The encore was complete with a few howling vocals and enough encouraging ‘wooing’ from the audience to fill the bar with noise.