Wolfmother & Deap Vally – San Diego – 3/23/16

This was the perfect double bill at the House of Blues here in San Diego.  Both groups, L.A.’s Deap Vally and Australia’s Wolfmother, are good enough and big enough to headline the venue, but with both of them they provided a real synergy where by playing together they were each better than if they were on their own.  This led to a sold out concert with the crowd showing up earlier than usual to catch the openers and then losing their minds through most of the headliner’s set.

First up was the duo Deap Vally.  The last time I caught this band was opening for Band of Skulls at the same venue a couple of years ago.  They were good then but they are WAY better now!  These two women and their music represent everything that rock n roll is all about. Their show was full of huge choruses, monstrous riffs and a ferocious intensity from start to finish.  I spoke with the drummer, Julie Edwards, after the show and she shared that they expect to have a new album out in the fall.  I will be shocked if they aren’t the headliners the next time they play this venue in San Diego.

Here are two songs from the show: the hit “Baby I Call Hell” and a new song, “Reflection”.

Next up was Wolfmother. I remember the exact moment I discovered this retro-leaning hard-rocking Aussie power trio.  I was on an airplane watching a surf video on my laptop and the song “Woman” was used for an sequence featuring Kelly Slater in the Quiksilver video Young Guns 2 (the scene starts at 24:40).  As soon as I got home I picked up their self-titled debut album and have been a fan ever since.

Since that 2005 debut the group has been through a lot of turmoil and lineup changes and we discovered that the band really was just guitarist/singer Andrew Stockdale and whoever played with him.  Regardless of all the drama- Wolfmother brings back the rock that I grew up with, combining elements of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy and mixing it with the modern hard rock of groups like the White Stripes.  And all of this was shown on stage this night as they played  a 19 song set from throughout their career. This was the rare concert where the band did not leave out a single song that I wanted to hear. [here’s the setlist from the show]

Wolfmother came out of the gates as a fully formed hard rock behemoth in 2005; then grew even more powerful after the followup LP, the epic Cosmic Egg, dropped in 2009.  After that the band seemed to lose its way somewhat, with Stockdale releasing a solo album, Keep Moving, in 2013 and a hurried third Wolfmother LP titled New Crown 2014.  While these were both solid albums they seemed to be almost brushed aside by both Stockdale and the fans.  At this show there were no songs played from Keep Moving and only one song off of New Crown, the hard charging “How Many Times”.  But based on the quality of their new album, Victorious, and the sold out crowd’s rapturous reception at this show, I believe the band has returned to form and is ready to continue what it started over a decade ago.

Here’s the title track off their new album, “Victorious” from the House of Blues show.

Metric – House of Blues, San Diego – Feb. 25, 2016

Sometimes I feel like I live in a bit of a musical bubble.  Since I don’t listen to the radio and none of my friends listen to the music that I do, I often don’t have a sense of how popular a band is. I remember going to a Portugal. The Man show a few years back at the House of Blues here in San Diego, expecting the place to be about half-full, and instead it was completely sold out.

Metric did one better and not only sold out the 1,100 capacity venue but added another show the previous night.  And this crowd really showed their appreciation for this 18 year old band as they sang and danced and responded rapturously throughout the set.  And Metric showed the love back, playing a 2 hour set of hits and deep cuts from throughout their history.

And then there’s Emily Haines, proving that age really is just a number (she’s 42!), as she danced and bounced and bounded across the stage from start to finish.  She really acknowledged the fans and how far they had all come – both the band and the audience – noting that many in the audience may have become fans back in high school and that by now they all had jobs and many had kids of their own.  She talked about what a journey it had been from the old days of arriving in a van and playing the Casbah to playing to a packed house at a great venue like the House of Blues.

Personally, I love the Casbah and I sure wish I had discovered Metric back in those days, but I am also really glad to see talented, ambitious artists achieve this kind of success.

Here’s my video of “Artificial Nocturne” from early in the show.

And here’s the closing number, “Breathing Underwater” (there was a coda where they launched back into the chorus but I didn’t get that).