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Reignwolf @ recordBar

(Emma Miller/KJHK)

If you haven’t heard of him yet, you will. In 2012, Canada-born Jordan Cook began Reignwolf with performances in Seattle’s renowned rock scene. What began as a mixture of a solo act or a two-piece backing band of gritty hybrid blues-rock quickly gained audience approval due to the electrifying live performances and, frankly, just some amazing music. The growing success and cult popularity with the band led to constant touring and performances all over the globe, including prominent festivals including Lollapalooza in Illinois, Newport Folk in Rhode Island, Voodoo in Louisiana, and the Governor’s Ball in New York. Iconic music legends such as Black Sabbath, The Pixies and The Who have toured with Reignwolf playing support. Clearly there is something special about this band.

And yet, seven years into it with all these accomplishments and Reignwolf has never released a single album until this year. Their debut LP is titled Hear Me Out, and holds a collection of songs that the band has already been playing in front of live audiences for years, adjusting the music live on stage as the audience reacted. Sing-screaming the lyrics in songs like “Wanna Don’t Wanna” gave off a punk rock feel, and the riff-heavy songs like “Black and Red” and “Are You Satisfied” kept the energy of classic rock on the table. And seriously, their early single “Are You Satisfied?” will leave you satisfied. The guitar, the vocals, it’s just good no matter how you look at it. Reignwolf’s music is essentially the love-child earworm of blues, punk and classic rock. It’s genuinely spectacular. But it wasn’t all fast and insane. Tracks like “Wolf River”, “Son of a Gun”, and “Fools Gold” show the softer side of rock and roll with ballads gliding intense feelings over rhythm guitar.

The work on the album began five years ago, as Cook finally realized how backward it was for the band to be playing arenas without an album out. With the release of Hear Me Out, the band has hit the road yet again for a headliner tour hitting cities all across the United States and Europe. I was just so lucky to see them on their stop in Kansas City, Missouri. The recordBar is a relatively small venue, which in my experience usually makes the show even better due to how close you are to the stage. Reignwolf did not disappoint, coming out with red lights and fog machines to prelude their enormous sound. Cook dealt with gravelly vocals and shredding guitar as a drummer and a bassist joined him on stage. The crowd got moving immediately as the music reached an overpowering volume that you could literally feel. It was a good crowd and Cook was incredible at interacting with the room. He moved all over the stage and was active and intense in his guitar playing. Halfway through the show, the entire band even moved onto the floor in the middle of the crowd, transferring the drum kit and everything. Loud got louder at that point, but the hearing damage was definitely worth it. 

This performance is definitely among the top rankings of all of the concerts I’ve been to. I downloaded their album as soon as I left, and it was all I listened to for literally days. The raw energy and intensity of Reignwolf is truly special and rare, and it was something I didn’t realize my usual music had been missing for me. Listen to Reignwolf and hear it for yourself. If Reignwolf tours near you — definitely go.