Maria Mar’s Local Radar: Badwolf

Locals, we meet again! It’s about that time to talk about all that is hot in the local music scene. This week, I am writing about a band that I am somewhat newly acquainted with, for they are just starting out in the scene as well and could use a little exposure in the limelight. They are a four-piece from right down the street from me, who were friends first, bandmates second. Personally, I always find that to be important; otherwise, you’ll never be willing to make things work.

I love Badwolf’s name, as for some reason it reminds me of Michael Jackson, even though I highly doubt that he had any influence on it at all. Are they bad? Are they wolf-like? Are they bad wolf-like? Maybe after hours, but that’s a whole other topic. Want some good music that you can get down to while drinking a couple beers at a local music venue? Feel like thrashing and dancing at the same scene? Want to find something refreshing while actually having some raw and natural talent at the same time? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this is the band for you.

Badwolf are Jake, Steve, Rich and Dan from Wall Township, NJ. Now, I have never written about a band that doesn’t have any recorded material, though I am a stickler for live music. There is a first for everything, and after all, if a group cannot play well live, I have no interest in them anyway.

I have seen Badwolf twice now, and both times left a great impression in my brain. They’re heavy, have soul, and a little Southern rock influence in their sound. They’re also very entertaining from start to finish, switching up their style from track to track. There is something here for fans of all genres, as they are just one of those acts that come around and surprise the hell out of all of us, slowly making us swoon and fall in love. It is really hard to pinpoint and describe this group, as I could say that they take hardcore and metal and twist it up with alternative rock. I wouldn’t go as far as to say they could be mainstream, because I actually couldn’t see that happening, but I can honestly say that if they put out an album, it would be hard not to be impressed.

Now, as I stated before, they don’t have any recordings yet, so it’s kind of hard to talk about lyrics and whatnot, but from what I have heard, the vocal patterns are on a distinct level. Jake has a very broad range where he can swoon you with some slower notes and then melt your face off in a screaming match. I also cannot forget about the guitar work, for it’s not just your basic three-chord neo hardcore onslaught, but there is some serious talent behind it. Their riffs are original and extremely catchy as well. Dan has some serious basslines and they keep your adrenaline going while your heart pounds to the beat of Rich’s drums. They make you want to dance the night away while simultaneously slamming your fist into something glass. Sound crazy? Well, it really is. Try rock with a Dirty South slap in the face. They are definitely an experience.

I am not sure what the future holds for Badwolf, or if they’ll even release an album, but you can tell they are in it for the love of the music. In addition to being amply fast, then slow, then heavy and twangy, their music is chock-full of hooks that are very crafty. Considering all of these elements, more positive than anything else, I think it’s safe to say this band has me hooked. I hope they continue to book shows locally and brand themselves some more so that the buzz can continue. They are very engaging with the crowd, even joining them during performances. Their sound isn’t your average verse/chorus/breakdown, or whatever that trend is that has become so standard. There is some humor, irony, and structure all balanced throughout their set. The combination of all of these elements and attributes really sets the mood and makes their set so enjoyable. It’s rare to leave a show asking yourself, “I wonder where I can catch this band live again?” I’m not saying there is anything groundbreaking or earth-shattering here, but it’s real talent and real music with real relations.

Be sure to check out Badwolf on Facebook and see if they are playing at a venue near you. And if they’re not, request that they do, invite all of your friends, and get your dancing shoes on. Wolves come out at night and they tend to be bad, so be prepared. Who knows, maybe the more you demand they come around, the more it will spark a fire under their butts to record some material (hint hint).

I will be back next week with another local band of my liking that is making an impact on my ears. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday season, maybe make yourself a little local music holiday mixtape, and utilize your time off from work at a show! The venues aren’t going to fill themselves, after all!

See you all next week!