The Warlocks, Koolaid Electric Company
Miss Fliss 25/08/2008
The first song tonight is executed as punctuated and anticipatory thrillingly as an encore, with choppy sudden cymbals. From hereon in, a sea change brings with it some seriously staggered out revelling-in-reverie rock. This is not music for the impatient, rather you need to be of the disposition that you'll be seduced by slowly building hypnotic weaves of undulating sound waves that groove at a constant. Fans of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dandy Warhols, Morning After Girls and the general genre of revived blues/70s rock and roll need only apply.
This was my introduction to The Warlocks and I was struck most by the tidal wave motion of it all. The sonics bring to mind a swamp monster version of Black Sabbath - jagged raggedy downright dirty blues rock on the prowl. The Warlocks are one tight collective. The clearest instruments are the slow but sure grinding bass and the vital pivotal drums that so decisively drive the hypnotic wares.
The Warlocks is an apt name, since the band produce a malevolent brooding eerie spell. You get the sense that if you were on the right substances you'd be seeing exploding bursts of passionate purples along with the moody dry ice blasting out. There's also a Stooges undertow to the output - the growling volatile threat of violence bobbing near the surface. The audience are largely motionless, save for a handful of primarily females dancing subtly, unsure, or at their most extreme, merely producing nervous twitches. I imagine the band's audience in their American homeland might contrastingly let rip and let all hell break loose to this mighty swelling feverish primal rock and roll. A dank tiny basement of some bar would be the setting. We Brits, on the other hand, need the encouragement of just one person kicking off before they'll follow suit, so the atmosphere is held back and non-committal tonight.
Since most Warlocks songs are elongated 8 to 10 minuters, the gig feels terse when it ends and we realise only about half a dozen or so songs were played. The fug of smoke rises above the tiny club stage like mist as a good five minutes' worth of feedback rings out like sirens. The gathered crowd stand fervently and appreciatively for the full duration, not leaving till it finally rings fully out to conclusion…