Reignwolf and STRNGRS Satisfy at Bowery Ballroom

If you’re not familiar with the snarling smokehouse that is Reignwolf, let me fix that for you right quick with just a little taste of what went down at Bowery Ballroom the night of August 1:

This, my friends, is Jordan Cook a.k.a. Reignwolf, a wild man rocker originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, now calling Seattle home - at least when he’s not on the road. He’s been playing the guitar since the age of two, so basically music is his first language. His guitar is now an extension of himself. He’s now been playing so long he could probably win a round of ping pong while soloing a sick blues jam like it ain’t no thing, and also growl out some super swoon-inducing lyrics like the ones to “Are You Satisfied?

Needless to say, Reignwolf puts on one hell of a show.

My blurry little iphone video clip above only captures enough to give you the slightest inclination of what a major multi-tasker and guitar-shredding powerhouse this guy is - aside from strumming his guitar with the same hand he held a mic in, he’s also adept at playing drums while simultaneously strumming and singing. He’s got a dedicated drummer and bassist now, but he came up doing everything himself, and doing one hell of a job. During “Electric Love,” he had the drum kit all to himself again. Not surprisingly, he broke a string early on, so he put the string in his mouth while snarling out the lyrics and playing everything. He ate that string up like he ate up the whole experience - this show was a beautiful display of an artist completely in his element, getting off on the fiery outpouring of his craft, and without a doubt getting off all the screaming fans on the floor. When he yelled, “Somebody say ‘hell yeah!’” It was everybody who responded. Then, he jumped on top on top of his “Reignwolf” emblazoned bass drum and let us have it.

It wasn’t just him either. When he jumped in the crowd, and transferred the bass drum and strung the guitar cable out, his bassist followed into the crowd (who was immediately accosted by the most excited instant selfie-taking girl), and his drummer moved his whole kit to the front of the stage as well. They all made sure to be in our faces and give everyone there an experience they won’t forget. During the last song, Reignwolf crowd surfed like the king of Bowery Ballroom. Later, back on stage after a couple encore songs, he just chucked his guitar across the stage to a cacaphony of wolf howls and cheers for more.

Reignwolf is the reall shit, y’all. It’s easy to get caught up in all the badass-ery, but it’s also easy to get the impression that it all comes from a truly genuine place. This is all he does, and all that bring him joy in the world. Or the most joy, anyway. The fact that he can headline a sold out show at Bowery Ballroom, among others, and play to a huge crowd that eats up him eating it up just happens to be the best response anyone could ask for. He acts so humble and appreciative it just makes his fans love him more, because how can you not admire this miracle of all rock planets aligning to bring us all this experience that we all shared together. All is right in the cosmos for the duration of a Reignwolf concert.

Local three-piece STRNGRS was a good pick to open for Reignwolf, as they also had a wildly energetic soulful rock vibe with a whole lotta blues influence. Frontman Carson Kelly ran around stage with the gusto of a southern preacherman, busting out some world-weary but also feel-good vocals, along with some hard blues harp blowin’ like on the more sultry tune “Never Can Tell.” Drummer Chase McGowan made some serious hard-hitting faces as he beat the hell out of his kit, and Garrett Drinon was a wildman on guitar, soloing at least a couple times in every song and coming to the front of the stage, to either get in the front row of faces in the crowd or have some face to face jam time with Carson.

On their last song of the set, Carson announced that it was called “Outta My Mind,” and that we should all feel free to do so. STRNGRS themselves certainly felt free to do so, as they had already displayed since the start of their show.  Not a one of them looked like they were holding back, going full throttle through the whole set. Their latest EP is called Magic Boy, but these boys make real rock, kick out the jams style. After witnessing this show, they get a hell yeah and an amen.