Friday, May 6, 2016

Peter Wolf at the Bowery Ballroom

Raised in the Bronx, New York, a young Peter Blankfield aimed to be an artist, but in the late 1960s he reinvented himself as Peter Wolf, a radio disc jockey in Boston, Massachusetts. He also sang in a band called the Hallucinations before joining the rocking rhythm & blues group the J. Geils Band in 1967. The J. Geils Band remained popular throughout the 1970s and peaked when it began leaning new wave in the early 1980s. Wolf left in 1983 for a solo career, but has continued playing with the J. Geils Band on many reunion tours. Wolf's eighth solo album, A Cure for Loneliness, was released on April 8, 2016.

Peter Wolf's band, the Midnight Ramblers, is a roots band in a way that the J. Geils Band is not. At the Bowery Ballroom tonight, the Midnight Ramblers, firstly, were more countrified, and secondly, were a lot mellower overall. Was anyone ready for an acoustic bluegrass reinterpretation of the J. Geils Band's "Love Stinks?" This was followed by a cover of bluegrass veteran Bill Monroe's "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold." Along the way, there were many low-key blues, rootsy rock and roll and rhythm & blues excursions, and a tribute to Merle Haggard. The biggest applause, not surprisingly, was reserved for J. Geils Band staples "Cry One More Time", "Musta Got Lost" and "Looking for a Love." At 70 years of age, Wolf has softened, but he still can belt out an energetic rocker or two.

Visit Peter Wolf at