As Fes­ti­val No 6 in Wales this sum­mer descend­ed into a major mud­bath after two days of bib­li­cal rain­fall, Wolf Peo­ple took to the stage late after­noon (above). They were cap­ti­vat­ing and the tur­moil of gui­tars suit­ed the inclement weath­er, but I decid­ed I’d enjoy them more some­time in the future, in the warmth, with dry clothes.


And so it came to pass that Wolf Peo­ple appeared at Oslo in Hack­ney. First up is their sup­port, Dean McPhee. His open­ing num­ber was inspired by the bells at a neigh­bour­ing church in West York­shire (both acts derive inspi­ra­tion from their sur­round­ings and its his­to­ry) – at times I was remind­ed of The Orb in their ear­ly days and the thrill of A Huge Ever Pul­sat­ing Brain. McPhee cre­ates mul­ti­ple lay­ers of sound, feed­back devel­op­ing a full and mes­meris­ing sound – he’s a love­ly bloke too and the bro­ken lead after the first num­ber meant he could chat to us awhile. 

Wolf Peo­ple, who released new album Ruins on 11th Novem­ber, start­ed with Ninth Night, the album’s open­er, its qui­et­ly innocu­ous gui­tar melody giv­ing way to blis­ter­ing gui­tars and plen­ty of fuzz, with Tom Wat­t’s trib­al drum­beat call­ing us back in time. The song is about ne’er do wells in the 1700s who would lull their vic­tims into sleep in order to rob them – and the track com­mu­ni­cates this well with its doomy vibe. Sec­ond num­ber is Rhine Sagas, with its Zep­pe­li­nesque gui­tar wail. From where I was stand­ing (at the front, not great for sound but I want­ed to see the band, it’s always a sac­ri­fice, see or hear, take your choice) the vocals were very low in the mix and I could bare­ly hear vocal­ist Jack Sharp at all, let alone make out the lyrics.




When the Fire is Dead in the Grate takes us back to 2013s Fain and a gen­tler, more folk-based era, less dis­tor­tion. All Returns and All Returns Part II marked a high point of the evening – the expan­sive­ness of the com­po­si­tion giv­ing the band full rein to explore and let us get lost in the song’s mag­ic, it’s also a play­ful track with that echo­ing riff cre­at­ing a deli­cious ten­sion. Lat­er came anoth­er num­ber from Ruins – Night Witch, with its pow­er­ful, wail­ing gui­tars. For one of the encore num­bers, McPhee joined them on stage. 


Wolf Peo­ple take me back to a beloved era, 70s psych folk and blues influ­enced rock, before punk pushed its snout into the trough of the music scene. Unde­ni­ably, Traf­fic, Jethro Tull, a bit of Fam­i­ly (final gigs in Decem­ber, folks) are strong influ­ences, but Wolf Peo­ple have forged their own path – Ruins cer­tain­ly sees the band evolving.

I left Oslo elat­ed, this was one of the best gigs of the year (The Besnard Lakes, also on the Jag­jaguwar label, are also on the list). Jack Sharp informed us that he was delight­ed to be play­ing in Lon­don and said ‘the band would be back soon’. A big cheers to that.

Wolf Peo­ple: Jack Sharp (gui­tar, vocals), Joe Hol­lick (gui­tar), Dan Davies (bass) and Tom Watt (drums).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *