When the lineup for the Jared James Nichols tour was announced, there was quite a buzz on social media that Dutch Psychedelic Soul Trio DeWolff were included as the special guests. Not being familiar with them or their songbook, some evening homework was thus in order.
KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 11 October 2023
Words: Sophie James
Photography: John Inglis
There are some bands you witness that have saturated and bludgeoned your senses, and you have difficulty absorbing what you have just seen. DeWolff are just one of those.
Taking the stage to Howlin Wolf’s I Am The Wolf, they posed a simple question: “We come from the Netherlands. We have one question for you, Wolverhampton. Are you ready for some rock ‘n’ roll?”
With that, they launched into Night Train with all the bombast of Mk II Deep Purple in their prime. So many musical colours immediately apparent, with a fusion of southern rock, blues, gospel and soul and they had yet to fully ignite.
Drawing on a further railroad parallel, it was like you’d been invited to a party in their very own boxcar as the locomotive thundered relentlessly through the night. Like the headliner, these were another trio, comprising Pablo van de Poel on Vocals and guitar, Robin Piso on the Hammond and Luka van de Poel on the drums, who produced such an immense, multi-influenced, enveloping sound.
Maximum Cruising Speed was still not reached until after the Allmanesque intro of the wryly self-observing Made It To 27. “I made it to 27, and I’ll be 100 by the end of the year.” A line straight outta da blues.
“How many legends have come from here? These are hallowed grounds. Thank you for welcoming us.” The funky intro of Nothing’s Changing prefaced the band taking us on a musical magical carpet ride, enticing then overwhelming you. Similar exponents of the genre may have considered utilising the huge screen, but DeWolff opted against this. I felt such visuals would have been a distraction from focusing on the opulent sound.
Robin’s Hammond towards the end of this, and I apologise for the comparison again, showed such Lordian influences. In addition to a Highway Star groove, there were shades of Child In Time and Perfect Strangers. Just marvellous.
Double Crossing Man saw them return to a soul groove combined with the feel of The Stones. The most immediate and infectious number in this short set the audience performing the call and response portion of the chorus with gusto, “He is a two-time dude, double-crossing man – And I know your heart is hurting.”
Four songs in Pablo announced, “This is going to be our last song, but it is a long one. It is 16 minutes on the album. Here it may be 16, 18, 20, who knows. I see that look on your face! This is about the Queen Of Space And Time.”
It would probably take me the rest of the week to fully articulate Rosita alone. A grandiose near symphonic arrangement, assaulting but yet so seductive with it. The guitar and Hammond share equal billing in rapturous synchronicity. Such were the flavours; one segment was a gospel stomp another grinding country blues and lots lots more.
Pablo’s mid-song excursion into the crowd was reminiscent of a preacher reaching out to the congregation whilst conducting the ‘laying on of hands’ as the Hammond provided spiritual accompaniment.
True to his word, this 20-minute+ epic was an extravagant finale. One wonders, during a full set, how on earth they would follow that.
One was blown away by their talent, the arrangements and their virtuosity while maintaining the crowd’s attention throughout. So difficult to summarise the performance. Akin to a triptastic voyage back to the decade when jams were endless, and flares were a drain on the world’s natural resources. In a word – Spectacular.
Discover for yourself on the remaining dates of this brief tour, or alternatively, check out their recent Live & Outta Sight 3 album, which was released hot on the heels of February’s Love, Death & In Between studio offering.