Leatherwolf Howl at the Whisky

Huntington Beach metal band Leatherwolf formed way back in '81, and spent their early years on bills with a formative Metallica and Slayer, among others. Their first records, such as the self-titled debut EP which grew into an album, another confusing self-titled release, and Endangered Species, earned them a lot of praise back then, though time hasn't really been kind. Leatherwolf don't get the level of respect that they perhaps deserve.

In 2024, only drummer Dean "Drum Machine" Roberts remains from the original band (and even he took a break during the '90s). The lineup has shifted massively over the years, and the current version of Leatherwolf is practically unrecognizable from the classic band. Besides the drummer, everybody else joined post 2010.

That said, Roberts has assembled an impressive group -- full of youthful energy and tons of talent. If Roberts essentially is Leatherwolf nowadays, then he's done a superb job of putting a band together that does nothing to tarnish the legacy.

At the Whisky A Go Go on Friday night, they played a career-spanning set that rolled back the years for the Sunset Strip crowd. Vocalist Keith Adamiak, a relative unknown prior to joining, is a charismatic frontman with an impressive metal wail. Meanwhile, Leatherwolf's trademark "Triple Axe Attack" is present and correct in the form of Rob Math, Luke Man and Wayne Findlay. Bassist Brice Snyder completes the current band.

Classics such as "Gypsies & Thieves" sit comfortably alongside the more recent "Kill the Hunted" and, at the end, the band wanders off stage with little in the way of a grand goodbye. It's all a bit anticlimactic, but no matter -- it was a great gig.