The doors opened at 11:00pm, and the opening bands finally finished around midnight. Cat and I got there just in time for Guitar Wolf, simultaneously astonished and nervous about arriving at a rock show so late on a Thursday night.
Guitar Wolf, of course, is the band that invented Jet Rock* back in \'87, and are still more or less the only ones that play it. It\'s basically Ramones-style punk crossed with Boredoms-style noise, with a bit of psychobilly thrown in as well. Throughout the concert the proportions varied, with some songs sounding more or less straight punk, while others consisted entirely after distorted feedback and Guitar Wolf screaming. There was at least one very surprising song, however, that was old-school blues--unmistakable, even though Guitar Wolf only knows the English words \"Bitch\", \"Mother Fucker\", and \"ROCK AND ROLL!\".
I should add that Guitar Wolf is now the only original member of the band Guitar Wolf--the original Drum Wolf left in 1991, and the original Bass Wolf died in 2005. The current Bass Wolf was very chill--a nice contrast to Guitar Wolf\'s craziness--and the current Drum Wolf has the most amazing tattoos!
Here, this interview pretty much sums up the secret of their success: \"I always, I like, I need noise. Because we are no skill. Our skill is no good. No technique. We need...Basic rock and roll is: Number one is looks; Number two is guts, tension; Number three is action; Maybe four, five nothing; Six is skill, technique.\"
For me the highlight of the show came about two-thirds of the way through, after the audience had started running up onto the stage and diving off into the crowd. Guitar Wolf had thrown his guitar down (he did that occasionally) and was bent over, hugging the crowd. At that point, there was suddenly a tall, drunk guy with a Mohawk on stage strapping it on! It looked to me like he had just rushed up and stolen it, but Cat says that Guitar Wolf chose him, yanking him bodily from the audience in order to become Rock and Roll Blood Brothers.
At any rate, the poor guy looked like he was having the best and worst time of his life, up on stage with Guitar Wolf, the lead guitar strapped to his chest and the lead singer shouting at him in incomprehensible Japanese. Guitar Wolf has clearly trying to get him to play guitar the \"right way\", and I guess he wasn\'t doing such a good job. He\'d strum a chord, and Guitar Wolf would indicate that he needed to strum louder, and to jump. So he jumped in the air, hitting the strings as he came down, but Guitar Wolf shook his head. The guy tried to leave a couple of times, but got a stern \"No!\" and was pushed back on stage--I\'ve had dreams like that in the past, myself. Cat thought that he just needed to stand closer to the speakers, and that Guitar Wolf was trying to teach him how to make the amazingly loud feedback squeal that is such an important part of Jet Rock. Eventually he got it right, and the jump and the chord and the feedback all meshed perfectly with Drum Wolf\'s beat.
Oh, I forgot to mention that the band started playing before the venue was quite ready--the pre-show music was still playing, but Guitar Wolf just played over it, louder. The Bottom Lounge had clearly negotiated a 1:30am ending time because around that time a bunch of the employees started to gather, clearly looking forward to cleaning the place up and going home. Guitar Wolf didn\'t seem to notice them. Not even when they turned on the house lights. Eventually the sound guy just turned off the microphones, and so after one last song Guitar Wolf ambled off stage.
*Named after Joan Jett, it turns out, and not after airplane engines after all!