Live Review: Timberwolf at the Grace Emily Hotel

Words by Brett Pike

He’s supporting Amy Shark on her upcoming sold out national tour. He’s played knockout sets around the country at Groovin’ The Moo, Woodford Folk Festival and the Big Pineapple just to name a few. He’s (almost) finished recording his long anticipated debut album. And on Thursday Night, he returned to headline a sold out show with Naomi Keyte at the Grace Emily Hotel. Just like the 1998 rom-com, this is the story of How Timberwolf Got His Groove Back.

It’s been a long time between drinks for Timberwolf, having only played a singular headline show in 2016 at Melbourne’s Shebeen, much of his time was spent bouncing between his Adelaide home, the US of A, The Grove Studios on the New South Wales Central Coast and amazingly recovering from a trio of vocal surgeries that came close to derailing the entire project. But alas he is back, launching into his first show of what is set to be a huge 2017 for the man.

Supporting on the night was the ever brilliant Naomi Keyte, having herself only just released her debut LP Melaleuca at the end of January, and she did not miss a beat. Once Naomi hit the stays, all eyes were on her, eager to hear what has come from her biggest release to date. Supported on stage by vocalist Mary Webb and multi-instrumentalist Thomas Capogreco, the room was chock-a-block once her set started, Naomi Keyte captivating us all with songs of love, songs of freedom and family, bringing much of Melaleuca into life. Nailing a cover of Leonard Cohen’s 'In My Secret Life', she had us fixed from the get go in what was a perfect preview to her album launch on March 26th.

Timberwolf’s set was a tale of two halves. The first half leaving himself intimately exposed on stage, with his guitar and his loop pedals for company, he went on to explain how significantly the effect of his vocal surgeries had impacted his musical prowess and his own personal life within the last year. Scrapping all of his previous work and devoting the entire set to the upcoming debut LP, it was a heart-warming to everyone in the room to see a young person bare themselves to a room of (almost) all strangers and power through.

The second half brought about the entrance of his supporting band, going from strength to strength incorporating smooth blues lines, howling vocals, and a special appearance from Bree Tranter, Timberwolf’s girlfriend for a rendition of 'Washed Out', before returning for a solo encore for the title track of the debut LP.

It has been an incredibly fruitful 18 months for the young man, and if the Grace Emily’s album preview is anything to go by, the next 18 could well bring about another bounty.