Guitar Wolf Entertains And Thrills a Packed 7th Street Entry


Photos by John Oakes

I needed my show on Monday more than words can describe. My day had been rough, made only rougher by coming home to a mess of a house after I was gone all weekend and my boyfriend had his kids. It honestly looked like a tornado had gone through my basement and living room, leaving toys, clothes, and chewed gum everywhere. I was pissed, to be quite frank. Pissed and annoyed, and this was all on top of a less-than-favorable workday. I needed a show, and I needed an intense one. Thankfully, that’s precisely what I got at the 7th Street Entry.

Local noise-dance duo Celica was the first to take the stage. Honestly, I found Celica’s music confusing, but that was the point. Their sound was fuzz and drums with distorted guitar and synths played over booming drums. It was abstract and creative, to say the least, but, again, I just didn’t get it. I keep playing through the seventeen-minute set in my head, trying to figure out why this set didn’t hit me the same way that it hit my friends who were attending, but I’ve concluded that this is just one of those sets that wasn’t for me. All that being said, Celica didn’t hold back, and although their music may not have made sense to me (I’ve never been one for noise), I loved the heart, passion, and fire that they brought to this show. I also want to stress that, just because this wasn’t quite for me, Celica deserves your attention. For just a duo, they definitely pack a punch.

Following Celica was Nashville, Tennessee-based Hans Condor. A buddy at this show warned me about what was to come, and it got me excited but also a bit hesitant. Were they going to live up to all of the hype that my friend was laying out for me? Spoiler alert: they did, and then some. Hans Condor has a “no fucks given” kind of attitude that translates both into their dirty rock n’ roll sound and their intense live show. My favorite thing about this trio’s set was watching vocalist and guitarist Charles Kaster try and figure out what to do next. It was as if he refused to be confined by the intimate stage of the 7th Street Entry but, at the same time, didn’t quite know where to go. This led to many moments of Charles going into the crowd to try and get people moving and to sweat being dripped on those brave souls in the front row lining the stage.

It didn’t take much for me to be sold on Hans Condor’s sound. As mentioned, it was dirty rock n’ roll, but what does that really mean? It means that there was distortion, chaos, and insanity, all culminating into a raucous sound and movement that made you feel something. I can’t tell you what I felt because I was so enamored with this band, but the fact that I felt something, even though I had never heard of this band before, says volumes. On top of all of this, there was this vibe that imperfect is perfect when it comes to this band. Every note, whether sung or played, had a sense of swagger and attitude behind it. That attitude ranged from chaos to rage, but there were also glimmers of something a bit more classic and just a solid dive-bar-styled rock and roll band. You may have been captivated by Hans Condor’s live performance, or you may have been caught by their sound. Either way, this band had you sold within the first few seconds of their set, and I am already craving another performance from them sooner rather than later.

By the time the headlining act, Guitar Wolf, took the stage, the 7th Street Entry was packed to the brim, and there was a sense of anticipation and excitement in the air. Like the previous two bands that performed, I had no clue what I was getting into, but that buddy that had gotten me all hyped up for Hans Condor had also gotten me ready for Guitar Wolf. Being that his words were true and then some when it came to Hans Condor, I could do nothing more than brace myself for impact as Guitar Wolf took the stage.

Guitar Wolf is a garage-punk power trio from Japan. They have been around for years and have put out a staggering fifteen full-length albums, along with a smattering of other releases. Needless to say, this is a legendary band, and I truly don’t know how they have flown under my radar for so long, but it didn’t take long for me to become a fan of this band and their classic punk rock sound that edges into the garage-punk scene so effortlessly and perfectlyI wish I could spend days telling you about their sound, but I would just start going in circles. Much like Hans Condor, it was dirty and imperfectly perfect. It was full of passion and fire that made you feel something, but it wasn’t their Ramones-infused garage punk sound that really had me sold on this band; it was their show.

From the start of their time on stage, you could tell that it was going to be a wild night. There was just a way that this band carried themselves that screamed, “This is going to be a night you will never forget!” and that’s exactly how it went down. There are far too many moments from their quick set for me to go through all of them, so here are some of the highlights:

Thumb War- At one point, lead vocalist and guitar Seiji was prepping the audience to catch him as he stage dove and proceeded to crowd surf through the small venue. He was waving his arms to try and get people ready to catch him until a hand from the audience shot up and grabbed his. I’m pretty sure this audience member was just trying to grab Seiji to support him on his travels to the low-hanging ceiling, but instead, Seiji grabbed this person’s hand and started an epic thumb war that went on a bit longer than was probably expected.

New Band Member- Towards the end of the set and before the encore, Seiji pulled an excited audience member up on stage to take over guitar duties while Seiji surfed his way through the audience. I saw this audience member’s face go from excited to petrified in a matter of seconds as they tried to explain to Seiji that they didn’t know how to play (or something to that extent), but that didn’t stop Seiji from leading this super cute human through the movements. Sure, the notes were wrong, but they weren’t the first wrong notes to be played on that stage on Monday night, and it definitely led to a night that that lucky patron will never forget.

Spiderman- Okay, bear with me while I try to explain this. The ceiling of the 7th Street Entry is made of metal bracing that makes for a lower-than-usual ceiling. Although it’s low, I’ve seen many people crowd surf their way through the audience without incident while also ignoring the seemingly climbable ceiling. That was not the case for bassist Gotz. Gotz started to crowd surf but then quickly saw the potential with this ceiling and ended up shoving his microphone down his throat and crawling around the ceiling like Spiderman. I saw the panic in the security guards’ faces, but beyond that, it was sheer joy and amusement from everyone else. 

There’s so much more to talk about here. I could talk about how other people were trying to hang from the rafters like Gotz had done earlier in the net or how, for the encore, they moved the drum kit to the floor, which meant a circle pit around the drum set ensued (I mean, what else do you do when the drums are on the floor?). Like all of my other insanely amusing and energetic shows, these are only words, and they don’t describe the feeling I felt as the stresses of my day melted away one by one and a new sense of life was breathed into me.