BlackWolf triumph in hometown test

Last year, BlackWolf were nominated for best new band in the Classic Rock Awards. Are they ready to move forward?

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2014 was quite a year for BlackWolf. Their released their debut album The Hunt, had a string of support slots with bands such as The Answer, Winger and Blues Pills, appeared at the Steelhouse Festival, and were nominated for Best New Band in Classic Rock Magazine’s Roll of Honour.

This year’s been quiet by comparison, and tonight is BlackWolf’s first headline show of the year, giving them a chance to try out some new material — the band has been busy writing and recording a new album with Toby Jepson — on a live audience.

They take to the stage in front of a hometown crowd without fanfare, blasting straight into the low-down dirty riff of Seeds. The momentum continues with the blues-tinged classic rock of Moving Mountains, which has never sounded better or tighter.

Keep Moving On gives Tom Lennox-Brown the opportunity to show what an outstanding drummer he truly is, with a Keith Moon-like ability to be discreet or standout as the moment dictates. His short drum intro is highly entertaining before Jason Cronin’s rhythm guitar takes the spotlight for moment of pure AC/DC, the main riff played centre-stage before the rest of the band join in.

Pick of the new songs is definitely Grace. John Greenhill raises the hairs on your arms with the tone of his guitar, while again Tom excels behind the kit. Steady Slow has a great groove to the riff and yet more excellent drumming, while Your Animal utilises some brilliant interplay between the two guitarists to make up the main riff, and a really strong vocal from Scott Sharp — particularly during the chorus — mark this as another future favourite. Relief ends the main set and just about tears the roof off The Exchange.

This felt like a special night, one where everything was just right: the sound, the atmosphere, the crowd, even the heat adding a certain sweaty something to proceedings. Are BlackWolf set for the big league? On this evidence, they might just be ready for promotion.