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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Guitar Wolf - Jet Rockin' Pittsburgh

On September 14th, 2016, the legendary Japanese "jet rockers", Guitar Wolf, played at the Hard Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh. I saw the band once before in March of 2012, but to see that, I had to travel all the way to Brooklyn. Since Guitar Wolf is so far away in Japan, I was super excited to see that they were playing in the United States again, and this time in the city that I live in. They are probably the most energetic band I've ever seen. I knew that this would be a good show, even if other people thought the Hard Rock Cafe was a weird venue. Since Guitar Wolf are huge fans of American rock 'n' roll, it made sense to me in a weird way.

The first band to play was Pittsburgh's Thunder Vest, who I had never seen before. They are a really solid band, sounding sort of like a combination of the Dead Boys, the Misfits, Bad Religion, and the Ramones. That might be a lot of stuff, but I'm sure you can figure it out. The frontman in the band stuck the mic down his pants a few times, and there were some cool guitar solos. Definitely, check these guys out!


I didn't know that the next band, Hans Condor, was playing the show. It was a super sweet surprise, though. The frontman was a short dude who resembled Lester Bangs. He did not look like a rock star, but his guitar playing and wild antics were jaw dropping! He jumped up onto tables and stands, threw the mic stand around after twirling it around his head, and even threw his guitar to the guitarist from Thunder Vest before catching it in mid-air on the return throw! I couldn't believe these guys; it was so cool! They are fast, garage punk like Oblivians or the Dictators.

The crowd was restless after Hans Condor's amazing set. After half of an hour, Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf took to the stage wearing dinosaur masks. Guitar Wolf joined them, his mask with a greasy slick of hair. He dramatically chugged a beer into the dinosaur's mouth, creating a large pool around him as the liquid dripped from the jaws of the prehistoric beast.

Guitar Wolf had a wild sound, just like on their records. They played loud, fast, and loose, sometimes going into electrifying jams. The drummer, Toru, has the coolest style: he looks like a member of the Yakuza and moves his entire body when he plays. The bass player, U.G., really gets into the groove and does cool sweeps of his hair. Seiji, the guitarist is amazing and had a guy I met at the show come up and play guitar with them as he sang and danced. They played for an entire hour, sweating profusely.

After the show was done, and we had all gone to the merch table, Seiji returned to play his standard outro of Eikichi Yazawa's "I Love You, OK". His sloppy and out of breath playing shows a lot of heart as always, a dedication to rock 'n' roll and the fans.

After the show, I spoke with Toru and Seiji. They were both super cool. I didn't know what to expect, because Seiji always seems just like his stage presence in interviews. He was actually pretty normal, though. Toru was very humble. A woman I met outside mentioned how she had played with Guitar Wolf a long time ago, and Toru listened to her story about the original Bass Wolf, Billy, helping her sister after she had been cut by a broken bottle. I got Seiji to sign the 10" "Jet Satisfaction" record.

These guys really put all they have into their music, and they really appreciate their fans. Definitely go and see Guitar Wolf if you can.

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