Wednesday, October 30, 2013

J Roddy Walston and Reignwolf let loose in Raleigh

Photos by Justin Weber
The prominence of rock and roll revivalism is waning in the current musical zeitgeist, but J Roddy Walston and Reignwolf showed it still remains popular by selling out Kings Barcade on a Tuesday night.

Reignwolf is the stage name for Jordan Cook, a Seattle musician via Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He’s been tearing up the northwest for a few years now with his anthemic blues and intense performances. Last night was no different.

Cook’s music is the kind of cathartic, virile rock and roll that foregoes any subtlety for pure release. Reignwolf exaggerates what the Black Keys were doing on their earlier records and adds the energy of fellow north westerners Japandroids to the mix.

That energy took over Cook and led to endless physical improvisation. He started the night solo before being joined by a drummer and second guitarist, but Cook can be a one man band. While playing his guitar he sat at the trap set and added a backbeat . Broken strings, drums, straps, sweat and random equipment cases aren’t impediments for Cook. They’re opportunities. He climbed his way around the stage and even off it without missing a lick. Cook’s visible passion makes him an easy sell to an audience. If he was playing bongos with the same flair, the crowd would have been just as into it.

While Reignwolf provided the head banging, J Roddy Walston and The Business gave the crowd something to dance to. With J Roddy mostly at piano, the Baltimore band recalls classic rock and rollers Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. The crowd was ready to keep up evidenced by the numerous sing-a-longs that occurred (helped along by the fact that the band has many songs featuring “ooos”, “eeees” and “iiiis” in the chorus). With 19 songs in under an hour and a half, the set was jam packed and covered all of three of J Roddy’s records.

Walston’s voice is striking live. The force with which he growls, screams and rips his vocals is thrilling and frightening. Frightening because of what it might do to his vocal chords night after night, but thrilling because deep down we all want to yell with such abandon. Walston attacks the keys of his piano as well. There’s no holding back.

Whether rock and roll like this will become more novelty than necessity is unknown, but one for night it allowed a city to uncross its arms and let loose and there’s still a lot of value in that.

Reignwolf set list
Electric Love
In The Dark
Lonely Sunday
Mandolin Song
Are You Satisfied?
Jealous Guy (John Lennon cover)

J Roddy Walston and The Business set list
I Don’t Want To Hear It
Tear Jerk
Heavy Bells
Take It As It Comes
Don’t Break The Needle
Pigs and Pearls
Sweat Shock
Brave Man’s Death
Midnight Cry
Don’t Get Old
Rock and Roll The Second
I Ain’t Afraid
Use Your Language
Sally Bangs
Picnics and Kisses
Used To Did


J Roddy Walston and The Business

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