By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos and “New American” paragraph by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
This has been an exciting year for Joyous Wolf. The OC rockers have been performing at festivals this summer, getting thrown out of Las Rageous for climbing the rafters, and they just signed with Roadrunner Records, the prestigious hard rock and heavy metal label that houses Korn, Slipknot, Gojira, and In This Moment. They have been working hard getting their debut EP ready for the public, so they decided to take a break from the studio to entertain the people of Fullerton. So Matt, Tyler (Rockaholic), and I headed to the Slidebar to give them support. Joining them for this show were there OC brothers in New American and Desert of Talking Shadows, who we unfortunately missed, but are sure did a good job overall.
The first band we caught that night were Orange County locals New American. This blues rock band from Long Beach, CA grooved perfectly with the night’s musical styles. Fronted by rhythm guitarist and vocalist Jonny Strang, whose stage presence was very similar to Joyous Wolf’s frontman Nick Reese. When not singing into the mic, Strang was flailing around the stage like a wild man, but never losing control of the flowing rhythm. Lead Guitarist Chris Pleasant kept licks coming with a jazzy feel to them, wailing with an array of pedals to warp the sound of his guitar. Bassist Karim Bedran held the bottom end down. Though he was not too flashy on stage, his bass lines could be felt by every member of the audience. Trying to steal the spotlight from Strang had to be drummer Alex Mendez, who was drumming his heart out while never losing the smile on his face; truly looking like he was having the most fun of anyone who graced the stage that night. If you are looking for a new bluesy or jazzy rock band, look no further than New American.
Full New American slide show below:
Joyous Wolf came out charging with the electrifying opener, “Mountain Man.” Since I saw him last at Las Rageous, Nick Reese has honed his James Brown dancing with more precision and style. Every time he would get up to the microphone, he would turn heads with his soulful Delta rock blues voice. Guitarist Blake Allard was full of sonic energy with each riff and solo coming out of his guitar. Robert Sodaro was steady with the crashing of his drum kit, keeping the beats simple but dominant. The show stopper of Joyous Wolf besides Reese was bassist Greg Braccio, whose mixture of funk, hard rock, and blues gave the songs a lustful spirit. From “Undesired” to “Holy Driver,” “Turning Blue,” and “What You’re Worth,” fans were ecstatic to see Joyous Wolf in action again.
They even did a killer job doing a cover of Mountain’s iconic tune, “Mississippi Queen.” During “Sleep, Weep, Stomp,” Of Limbo’s Jake Davies joined in on vocals and nailed it. It was his first performance on stage since his horrible accident earlier this year that shattered his leg. Once “Slow Hand” came on, Reese did the unthinkable; he climbed on the rafters and hung himself upside down. He has not done that since Las Rageous where he scared the crap out of me. Talk about a man with no fear and full of showmanship. They were ready to pack it up, but the fans asked for one more song, so Joyous Wolf obliged with “Mother Rebel.” That was good song to end the night for them.
Full Joyous Wolf slide show below:
Joyous Wolf has come a long way since I first saw them at the Viper Room last year closing out for Greta Van Fleet. In an interview I did earlier with Reese, he told me about the new EP and that it will be dropping early next year. I cannot wait to hear how they sound on record. Sky’s the limit for Joyous Wolf, and they are only going to howl louder from here on out. To Joyous Wolf and New American, I salute you. Horns up!!!