Reignwolf At The Troubadour
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By Crystal Larsen
West Hollywood, Calif.
He has yet to release his debut album, but he's been called "the greatest guitar player no one's ever heard of" and appeared on Rolling Stone's 10 New Artists You Need to Know list in January. He's Canadian, but his Aug. 13 concert at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, Calif., felt like a welcome home show.
This is Reignwolf guitarist/vocalist Jordan Cook.
After an opening set from indie rock four-piece the Futures League, Cook, along with his brother and bassist Stitcx and drummer Joseph Braley, brought his rowdy set and insane musicianship to the Troubadour for a sold-out show that will likely not be forgotten. It was one of those rare moments when I felt in the presence of an artist on the cusp of something really huge. Looking up at the balcony and seeing GRAMMY-winning producer Rick Rubin only solidified this feeling.
With vocals resembling that of Chris Cornell (which explains why there were more than a couple of Soundgarden fans in the audience) and a performance technique reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Reignwolf took the stage backed by a stack of amps that stretched like a barrier from one side of the stage to the other and opened with the blues-rock assault of "Lonely Sunday." Onstage, Cook's shaggy black mop served as a sweat-catcher and a visual aid to the head-banging that ensued as he shredded through an 11-song set. From the beginning, the audience was hooked, keeping both eyes on him as he moved from side to side, soloing with his brother Stitcx, and stepping up and jumping off the kick drum emblazoned with the Reignwolf logo at the edge of the stage.
Proving himself to be a consummate showman, Cook used every inch of the Troubadour to get as close to as many fans as he could. During his solo performance of "Electric Love," Cook sat behind the empty drum kit with now a bass in tow and simultaneously played drums while slapping his instrument. He even took his teeth and a single drum stick to his bass strings, à la Hendrix and Page.
During the bluesy "Are You Satisfied?" I saw a spark in Cook's eye that told me something crazy was about to happen. A few seconds later he was bringing his kick drum off the stage and into the middle of the audience to perform the rest of the song, handing his microphone to a female fan as he howled into it. He was so close I felt the sweat fling from his hair and was almost poked in the eye by his guitar strings that flailed aimlessly from the neck. He returned to the stage and ended the performance by ripping the strings from his guitar and chucking it behind the drum kit. And as he left the stage, chants of "Reignwolf" raised from the crowd and brought him back.
Not satisfied with his place back onstage, Cook stopped during the final song and asked, "Is it alright if I bring my amplifier up there and see what happens?" motioning toward the balcony. A few minutes later there he was, straddling the balcony rail while neighboring fans held onto him, making sure he didn't fall. He finished the rest of his performance from the top, which is clearly where he's headed.
"Reignwolf loves you," he said before leaving.
"Come On, Come On"
"In the Dark"
"Palms To The Sky"
"Are You Satisfied?"
"This Is The Time"