Home / Music / Concert Reviews / Guitar Wolf w/ Hans Condor and Bleed @ Cactus Club

Guitar Wolf w/ Hans Condor and Bleed @ Cactus Club

Sept. 2, 2016

Sep. 6, 2016
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While variety is key to any healthy musical diet, even the most adventurous listener occasionally just needs a dose of stripped-down, no-nonsense rock ’n’ roll. Sure, the basic premise of “three guys, three chords” hasn’t changed much since the ’60s, but when done right it’s still immensely satisfying, Friday night’s international bill being a good example. Boasting two fine domestic examples of the genre, one from our own backyard, as well as a rare appearance from Japan’s legendary leather-jacketed rockers Guitar Wolf, Cactus Club was the place to be for those looking to seriously rock out on this particular weekend.

First on the menu was longtime Milwaukee band Bleed, who haven’t released much since their turn-of-the-millennium heyday, but here showed off a number of newer songs alongside the expected throwbacks. Most of the recent additions should certainly sit well with any diehard fans, many of which seemed to turn out tonight to support the group, building as they do on their accessible mixture of ’50s-style crooning and high-octane garage rock. At 40-odd minutes, though, their warm-up set arguably had some fat to trim, but it still went over well with the crowd, which was growing at a rapid pace.

The influx of people into the club’s miniscule back room continued as Hans Condor took the stage. The Nashville power trio may not look like much, considering the lead singer’s bald spot and wispy mustache, but once the music started, the stage presence got turned up to 11. Backed by a heavy, non-stop rhythm section, the frontman was free to engage in all kinds of antics, from dragging spectators onstage for a sing-along cover of Motörhead’s eponymous masterpiece to tossing his guitar to a random onlooker then trying to catch it again as he leapt awkwardly off of an amp.

Later, Guitar Wolf, no stranger to some gimmicky fun themselves, made their way through the crowd sporting detailed dinosaur masks, a nod to the new T-Rex From a Tiny Space. After guitarist Seiji chugged a beer through his, they got down to business, tossing the disguises aside and unleashing a bruising set of their self-styled “jet rock ’n’ roll,” an overcharged clash of The Ramones, Link Wray and general insanity. The language barrier inhibited most attempts at banter, but everyone understands such purely distilled rock ’n’ roll, and after a beefy hour and a half, everyone surely had their fill.

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