Tiger Bear Wolf
July 16, 2005
Tiger Bear Wolf is the primal stuff. It's the music you'd have a wonderful epilectic seizure to and create new spazzed-out, limbs-strewn dances for if you had the guts. If you could ignore the Indie rockers standing idle while Tiger Bear Wolf kicks you in the stomach when you're caught off guard, blinded by the Sun. On Saturday night at Twiropa, Greensboro's Tiger Bear Wolf played bombastic, angry, aggressive, and swaggering music. It was music to throw yourself into something with. It's crazed, gotta rip your clothes off RIGHT NOW music. The kind of stuff that if you exited the concert with a head wound, it would have been worth it. Bang your head on the barricade!
Tiger Bear Wolf's music was a raw mix of Hard Rock, Punk, Metal, and the Blues. More Rock, Punk, and Metal than anything, but their spotted cries of "Baby!" and a lyrical willingness to bear the pain in life recalled the Blues. Tiger Bear Wolf used machine-gun snare strikes under ten-cups-of-coffee, throat-ripping screams, and then before you knew it, they were groovin' like a stoner on epic riffs during "Input, Output." Fugazi meets Zeppelin meets The Stooges. A more modern reference is At The Drive-In, which the band sounded like during "Something Worth Saving," a song that, despite and beyond all the sub-genres, cliques, deals, and gossip, made me believe that I was in the moment, that rock n' roll should be saved, and that I wouldn't mind if a band like Tiger Bear Wolf saved it. They certainly have the blind optimism to make a dent.
"Input" was the straightforward, big headbanger, but the other songs were full of angular yet anthemic rhythms. They used odd time signatures and changes, but an anxious and tense structure was the perfect mirror for distraught lyrics. Guitarists/vocalists Jonathan Moore and Noah Howard screamed the whole time or performed worried sing/speak. Tiger Bear Wolf's website says they're learning how to sing. The screaming fits the music. It's Garage-Rock sincerity! It's fine.
Tiger Bear Wolf's music was rough around the edges, but their impassioned approach added a degree of authenticity to their music. Noah tripped over a wire before he pitched his sandals to the side of the stage. That's when he started kicking his heels up in Rock dance and kneeling before his amp. Moore was a little too focused on his guitar playing to get all the way up to the mic and get his voice fully across. And he was wearing torn jean shorts. These were scrappy, unassuming guys. Things have become so formulaic that's it easy to be skeptical of appearance. I like to believe what Tiger Bear Wolf wore onstage was what they had been wearing the whole day. No spectacle. No covering. That was who they were. I like to believe.
*Marty, you're crazy for this one. It's your boy!