When we first encountered Jordan Cook (better known as Reignwolf), he was huffing and puffing and blowing down Neumos and Barboza at Block Party. He made "crazy sex eyes" at the audience at Bumbershoot, leaving an army of Reignpups in his wake. And if that weren't badass enough, he played the fucking Laserdome during City Arts Fest. Cook may have been born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, but as far as Seattle is concerned, this guy's one of us.
Before they hit the road to start their first U.S. tour, Cook and Co. had to have one last hurrah in Seattle, and they couldn't have chosen a better venue than The Neptune. As smoke poured out the fog machines, the electric blue eyes of several Poseidon heads pierced the gloom. Then the wolf himself emerged and let out of a howl of "I said OLD MAN..." And the guitar-shredding and bass-drum-stomping began.
But before Cook made his grand entrance, we were treated to some solid opening entertainment courtesy of local acts The Grizzled Mighty and The Young Evils. The former's bluesy brand of garage rock complemented Reignwolf's sound, and with their hair flying in their faces, Ryan Granger andy Whitney Petty looked like they had been bitten by werewolves themselves. These young performers aren't exactly grizzled, but my, are they mighty. Granger made two epic jumps off the bass drum, while Petty held down the beat even when she jumped out of her seat. Plus, one of their crash cymbals was kinked completely out of shape. If that isn't hardcore, I don't know what is.
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I wasn't quite sure how The Young Evils were going to fit in with their hard-rock counterparts, but they held their own in the middle slot. Besides, their set had a couple things in common with Reignwolf's: Cody Hurd broke a guitar string one song into the set; Mackenzie Mercer spent a good minute lying on the ground, though I'm not sure whether she got there accidentally or intentionally; and again, lots of hair was in lots of faces. The band performed all four songs from their latest EP, Foreign Spells, but they also debuted some new material. Two songs were listed as "New Song" and "Troy's" on the setlist, so presumably they don't even have proper names yet. Speaking of Troy Nelson, I'd like to award him the title of Hardest Working Man in the Seattle Music Scene for deejaying at KEXP and performing at The Neptune within an eight-hour period. Keep on living the dream, man.
The crowd went crazy for "Touch Tone Lovers" and "Dead Animals," but they went even crazier when the fiercest animal of them all, Reignwolf, shook his shaggy head and poured his sweat all over them. Over the course of an hour, the alpha-male Cook demonstrated his dominance over one instrument after another. He unbound a broken string from his guitar in the middle of "Electric Love" and kept right on shredding. He finger-tapped his way through "Bicycle" with his left hand while playing drums with his right. He turned Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" into a grimy blues song with the help of his electric mandolin. And in a move that would make Peter Hook and Simon Gallup proud, he took up a bass and played "Palms to the Sky" high on the fretboard. I wouldn't be surprised if Jordan Cook's name takes the same sort of legendary status before long and that he joins the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page in the Pantheon of Guitar Greatness. Mighty in the Wolf; long may he reign.