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Guitar Wolf, Isaac Rother and the Phantoms, and the Vicious Cycles Live at The Cobalt

Tuesday 27th, June 2017 / 15:27
By Zak Johnson

Photo by Darrole Palmer

The Cobalt
June 22, 2017

VANCOUVER – Thursday night at the Cobalt featured a unique lineup. All bands performing were heavily influenced by garage rock, which threw together an exceptional night of exhilarating and entertaining sets.

Guitar Wolf has been a rock and roll icon in Japan since the late 1980s. In their thirty-year career, the band has produced nine albums that contain influences of punk rock, garage rock, thrash, and rockabilly. Most recently in 2016 the band put out the album, T-Rex From A Tiny Space Yojouhan, a fast and dirty thirty-minute LP. Guitar Wolf has since been going on multiple tours to promote the album.

The first band performing was the Vicious Cycles, a local five-piece band influenced by 70s punk rock and garage rock. While playing to a small audience, the group had a good attitude and was able to get concertgoers engaged in their first couple songs.

Isaac Rother & the Phantoms were next, incorporating a fusion of garage rock, surf punk, and psychobilly with horror themes infused into their lyrics and appearance. The lead singer and guitarist, Isaac Rother, with a voice comparable to the low grumble of Muddy Waters, led his band through a series of fast-paced songs and ballads to a very receptive audience.

Photo by Darrole Palmer

By far the most entertaining band of the night was Guitar Wolf. The trio, two thirds of whom are over the age of 50, casually walked on stage wearing T-Rex masks over their heads and each sported leather jackets and pants. After looking out into the venue for a few seconds, the lead singer and guitarist of Guitar Wolf pulled a beer out of his pocket and began to pour the whole thing into his mask before whipping it off and breaking into the first song of the night, “T-Rex from a Tiny Space Yojouhan.” The members of Guitar Wolf remained completely theatrical and ridiculous the whole set, much to the audience’s enthusiasm. At one point, the front man handed his guitar to someone in the audience and stage dived into the crowd along with his bassist, leaving the fan to his own devices to jam with the drummer. At times, the frontman would put down his instrument, pause, and flick what seemed like ounces of sweat off of his face into the front row. As well, occasionally the bassist would just stop playing, scream into the microphone, and then start playing again.

Guitar Wolf’s performance was exceptionally entertaining and reiterated the message that music is as much a statement as it is entertainment. While I’m not sure what Guitar Wolf’s statement was, the band certainly made an impression on everyone who attended the concert last night.

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