By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
Besides my 4th of July birthday, my favorite time of the year is Halloween. From the creativity of people’s costumes to the terrifying decorations, it is one of the best days of the year. For me, what better way to spend my night of terror than by attending a show at the Observatory in Santa Ana, Calif. It has been a while since I have been there, but when I heard that Aussie mad rockers Wolfmother would be swinging by on Hallows Eve (the day before Halloween), could not resist. The Grammy Award winning rockers from the Land Down Under I have been on my radar ever since the release of their hit single in 2006, “Woman.” Opening up for them are Long Beach natives, Of Limbo, fresh off their headlining gig at the Slidebar with Joyous Wolf. It is the day before Halloween, and it was time for us rock fans to howl to the moon.
Of Limbo had a rough 2018. While on the road earlier this year, they had themselves an accident that seriously injured lead singer Jake Davies. After a grueling rehabilitation, he is back with a vengeance. Of Limbo brought their hard rock swagger to Santa Ana, with a touch of heavy blues rock. Jake is powerful on the microphone. His style of singing reminds me a lot of Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. His brother, lead guitarist Luke Davies, was smoldering with his riffs; slow burning, but very heavy. Drummer Juan Paz and bassist Herbie Brady were thunderous with their rhythmic beats and flows. Having just released their new EP last year, Nicotine, the packed house was taken back by the howling rock ‘n’ roll sound Of Limbo was giving them. From “The Devil You Know” to “Running Out of Time,” “Mettle,” “My Kind of Girl,” and “Let’s Get Fucked Up,” the rockers of Long Beach showed that despite their earlier setback, they were determined more than ever to leave their mark in music. Along with Joyous Wolf, the Struts, and Greta Van Fleet, I see Of Limbo as one of rock’s newest saviors.
Full Of Limbo slide show below:
After a brief set change, out walks Wolfmother. Their leader, vocalist and guitarist Andrew Stockdale, got the engines revved up with the band’s signature heavy neo-psychedelic stoner rock sound, starting with the tune “Dimension.” I loved hearing him sing. His voice is like a mixture of Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Ozzy Osbourne. Being the sole member of Wolfmother, Stockdale was backed by talented players like drummer Hamish Rosser, bassist Brad Heald, and keyboardist Katie McGurl. Third song in, they went into their Grammy hit “Woman,” and the venue lit up like a Christmas tree. It was amazing to see so many loyal Wolfmother followers give it their all in the mosh pit. A majority of the material they played came off of their 2005 self-titled album and 3 from their newest LP, 2016’s Victorious. Wolfmother were vicious and relentless on stage with songs like “Gypsy Caravan,” “White Unicorn,” “Vagabond,” “Apple Tree,” “The Love That You Give,” and “Colossal.” They even threw in a couple of Stockdale’s solo stuff like “Lazy” and “Sweet Spot.” They ended the evening with the crowd pleaser, “Joker & the Thief.”
Full Wolfmother slide show below:
Wolfmother has had several line-up changes over the years, but one thing have remained consistent with them: they know how to liven up a room full of rockers. Not only did Wolfmother kill, but Of Limbo continues to impress me and show fans that despite their major setback earlier this year, they will not back down. It was pretty much a packed house at the Observatory. I would like to point out that the venue has been going through some renovations that I am not happy about. The city of Santa Ana has forced them to take out the side patio and balcony because of safety violations. In my mind, the city is stripping the soul of the Observatory for bureaucracy, and I am not pleased with this. However, that did not stop the metalheads of the night from enjoying themselves on the day before Halloween. To Wolfmother and Of Limbo, I salute you. Horns up!!!