House of Vans Presents HalloWolfBat - with Red Fang, Windhand, and Pelican | Visual Conjuring by artist Dennis McNett
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
Edited by Fiza Javid
House of Vans Chicago - Saturday - October 29, 2022
House of Vans presents another historic Wolfbat- it's third, featuring the mighty Red Fang, along with Windhand, and openers Pelican.
Quite the triple bill folks, all three bands heavy hitters, with lots of stoner rock, sludge rock, and instrumental rock with a serious kick in the ass.
You gotta give thinks to the fine folks at House of Vans, who year in / year out know how to set the bill for Halloween Weekend, summoning up the right feel with bands that can give you chills, especially for such an intimate and cool space which House of Vans is, in the West Loop of Chicago.
Not to go unnoticed is the bells and whistles for all things Hallowolfbat- and that would be artist Dennis McNett, of Wolfbat Studios, who once a year brings to town his meticulous graphic creations, both in print and also movable installation form, that being giant creatures that roam the main floor of any given bands performance, sometimes just for visual appreciation and display, sometimes acting out macabre hand to hand combat with their movable arms and heads.
Even that brief paragraph doesn't sum up the overall feel and aesthetic- the size of some of these creatures on their movable carts are in the neighborhood of 9 to 10 feet.
And as far as my picture taking in relation to size and scale, even that does not do them justice.
This is well thought out in advance- having now been to all three Hallowolfbats at House of Vans, and have witnessed firsthand that all three have had different and unique creatures, let alone the paintwork and artwork which is also on display.
The overall feel and design, in conjunction with the music is all drawn into fantasy and folklore, immersing yourself in this design like you're in a true event, beyond, the scope of hard concrete warehouse and stage.
House of Vans, their appeal beyond the given uniqueness of their shoe designs, along with Dennis McNett have created an event that goes well beyond an actual intimate performance- all well and good with their other events throughout the year- but Hallowolfbat...man oh man- it is the Halloween event of the year.
Inventive and artistically appealing as all get out.
I hope to some extent my pictures convey this overall mood, even for a guy like me that knows a thing or two writing about bands and music.
Again, hard to describe Dennis McNett's creations firsthand, unless you were actually there soaking it all in, and conveying that to like minded and present individuals such as yourself.
As far as the actual bill, with headliners Red Fang- to see them perform in an intimate venue such as House of Vans, with clean lighting, and a PA that bludgeons to your sternum-
Their setlist was mighty.
Opening with "Blood Like Cream", and then into "Malverde"- this is a one / two punch of punishing and persuasive ripping, all the while looking like normal folk you walk by on the street, but they have a dark side you don't know about.
Have been following this band for years, dating back to 2009 or thereabouts, with their first release "Red Fang" on Sargent House".
With all subsequent releases, the latest being "Arrows" in 2021, they have delivered the rage and might, ever tightening their noose on catchy hooks and simmering to a rage vocals.
After the first three songs in the pit, had a chance to roam around the main floor of House of Vans and take it all in- most of the audience in my purview were standing stunned, and the sheer might from these guys, with punch and after counter punch in song selection, with of course "Arrows", and also "Into the Eye", with a further bludgeoning into "Antidote" and "Unreal Estate".
It just continued to roll downhill from there, ending with the volley of "Wings of Fang" and into "Number Thirteen".
Put it this way- the men of Red Fang have bite. Chomping at the bit bite.
Or put another way, these guys know intrinsically how to worship the almighty riff, and summon the demons down below. With lots of distortion for good measure, ever taking chances of seeing how their Orange amps will hold up in the deluge that follows.
Now you have a better idea of why everyone was stunned on the main floor witnessing them firsthand.
And the same goes for the band Windhand, just on a lesser scale real estate wise on the stage, bit still enough room to roam for singer Dorthia Cottrell, who plays the part in all things Hallowolfbat and Halloween, what with a white lab coat smeared in blood, and a guttural yowl that gives you chills, backed up with a band that knows a thing or two as well in all things "Down Tuned" and Sludge with a littler more Sludge added for good measure.
For what it's worth, they did a decent job of commanding the stage with their brief set, all the while taking in the giant creatures roaming the main floor getting into battles while circumventing the crowd immersed in Windhand's music.
As for openers Pelican- have been looking forward to their set as well, this instrumental / metal quartet knowing a thing or two as well with unleashing the hounds at a moments notice, tight as all get out, playing to their strengths without the assistance of any vocal whatsoever.
They can pack a punch, what with the two guitar onslaught from Trevor de Brauw and Laurent Schroeder.
With heavy hitting drumming from Larry Herweg and all things bass from Bryan Herweg, the density, the might in their chord selections just conveys time and time again that you stand and you listen.
It's clear that they're way beyond any kind of classification or labeled this and that- although if you were to ask them, they would be cool with it to some extent just on the chance of discovery and searching them out and giving them a listen.
It's an overall haunted and compelling sound that they time and time again conjure, equally fitting in this third creation of Hallowolfbat, a triple bill that conveys aspects of Halloween, but with a more adult themed feel.
A Halloween for the mature audiences, the ones that give a damn about cool music, along with all the costumery.
Such a wicked display of artistry, both from the bands and also Wolfbat creations from Dennis McNett.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
JBTV, Bobby Talamine, Red Fang, Hallowolfbat, Pelican, Windhand, Dennis McNett