Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
The Japanese culture is particularly intriguing for its attraction to extremes. On one hand you have a quiet, polite society devoted to beauty and detail, humble and group-oriented, and on the other hand you have. . . well, you have Guitar Wolf. It’s not really a surprise that a relatively demure nation produces the loudest, nastiest, most committed garage punk band in the world, if one goes by Newton’s deal. By nature’s law, Guitar Wolf had to exist, and the equally-committed rock fans that turned up on a Tuesday night at Seattle’s El Corazon were treated to an incredibly fun night of sonic destruction, moshy-smashy, and audience participation stunts, ending with three encores and a lot of sweaty smiles.
The trio, outfitted in black leather and sunglasses, took the stage ready to roll, and burned through their set of metal-meets-Ramones songs with barely a break. Guitar Wolf leader Seiji is a consummate frontman with 20+ years of shows under his studded “ROCK AND ROLL” belt, and he grimaced, pointed, yelled, grinned, and flipped off the crowd as they giddily returned each favor. At one point he brought a thrilled long-haired young fan onstage and handed him his guitar (which the fan apparently did not know how to play, which did not matter in the least) as the bass and drums kept blasting on behind them. Seiji dove into the audience several times for some crowd-surfing action, and twice assembled Guitar Wolf’s legendary “Rock ‘n Roll Pyramid,” made up of brave and hopefully-strong men and women from the front rows. I spent the night shooting photos but stopped long enough to headbang, stomp and yell along with everyone else to “Jet Generation,” a Saints-style rave-up, and probably the band’s best-known song.
Guitar Wolf – photo by Marianne Spellman
After the second encore, the house lights went up and the PA music went on, signaling that it was time for us to leave, although a few fans stuck around anyway. As I was packing up my gear, I heard a cheer go up – Seiji had returned to the stage with his guitar and was flailing away like a madman as the El Corazon security gave him the stinkeye staredown. I quickly fired up the camera again, grinning like an idiot. Awesome stuff, and a great end to the night. Newton’s Third Law of Motion rules!
Review by Marianne Spellman
All photos by Marianne Spellman