It has been almost 3 years since I have seen Guitar Wolf; to say that they constantly impress me would be an understatement. Embodying the true essence of punk, Seiji, Toru, and U.G. came back to Atlanta for their 2013 Magma Tour with special guests Coward and The Coat Hangers. The Drunken Unicorn set the stage I was familiar with the last time I saw this amazing band. The venue is small in size, but always accommodating for these types of acts. If you are looking for something mellow, this is not the place for you. However, if you are looking for excitement, an energizing performance, and something maybe a bit more dangerous, Guitar Wolf lives at The Drunken Unicorn are for you. Intimate and with no barriers, fans are able to be close to their favorite artists. Never failing to impress, The Drunken Unicorn always makes me feel like I’ve been transported back to a 70’s-80’s punk show in NY when Guitar Wolf comes around.
After the opening bands Coward and The Coat Hangers, the show began by running a series of music videos on the back wall facing away from the stage. I could feel the tension building in the room, wondering where the band would come from. At last, they came from the front, as cool and poised just as when I had first seen them. Of course this time, I knew exactly what to expect and braced myself for the surge of people pressing for the front of the stage. However, what came with the surge, was not only a mass of bodies shoving into my own, but a wave of alcohol overhead as beer cans began to hit the stage from the crowd. I couldn’t help but laugh, because truly, I thought in my mind, truly this was the epitome of punk; and I was grateful to capture it all. Wiping away the alcohol that had managed to get into my eye, moving with the crowd was key.
An energizing performance greeted me as song after song was rifled through, fast and heavy with Seiji’s guitar, Toru’s skilled drumming, and U.G.’s 3-stringed bass for character. The dust rose up from the stage, mingling with the smoke and alcohol that tinged the air. Seiji took advantage of the moment to pull a fan onstage for better or for worse to play his guitar, then taking it upon himself to crowd surf once his guitar had safely been given back to him. The live passed by me in a flash, and I was left wanting more no matter how much more abuse my body had to endure. Noting U.G. limping off stage, only to come back for an encore, one can only appreciate the endurance this band holds.
The tour may be over now, but one thing holds true: Guitar Wolf is the most insane band I have ever seen live, and I am eternally grateful for that. I doubt my life would be as interesting without them, and I am glad to have captured the live in those moments. For sure, they will be a band I will be catching up with in Japan over and over again.