Live Reviews: Porno Wolves at 331 Club in Minneapolis, MN

Material: Porno Wolves are a Minneapolis-based quartet who layer their rock & roll core with influences that range from the blues to extremely subtle hints of reggae. The result is a concoction of grunge, sex appeal and a whole lot of sound. All of their original material contains the lyrical basics of sex, drugs and rock & roll, but lacks catchy hooks. However, they avoid sounding too familiar or repetitive by intertwining elements of multiple genres. Some of their melodies are slightly similar to The Raconteurs, but the Porno Wolves do a good job of homing in on their own sound.

Musicianship: Each member of Porno Wolves brings something to the table. Bachman, master of pedals, heads the band with gritty guitar riffs and jam-bandy arrangements. His vocals range from in-your-face to breathy and sultry, as they slip into the vibe of each song without force. Drenkow’s stage presence is a little on the quiet side, but his groovy bass lines are hard to overlook when they resonate through skin and bone.

Multi-instrumentalist Schwartz adds dimension with his rhythm guitar and occasional saxophone breakdowns that dance through the band’s wall of sound. Gore is a powerhouse on the drums, delivering on-point fills. The only thing the band seems to lack is the presence of vocal harmonies, which could really lock in the depths of their sound.

Performance: The show was promoted as a live recording of the band’s second full album, so there was no question Porno Wolves brought their A game. Packed liked sardines on the extremely small stage, they filled the area with as much energy as the tiny space allowed.

The set consisted of 13 songs, some new and some old. Even with a full-length list, the band was able to hold the attention of the room throughout the evening. Bachman kept his banter between songs short and to the point, which provided a necessary crowd connection, but kept the night from dragging on. Overall, the band played a satisfying set and have a full-length live album to show for it.

Summary: Porno Wolves are able to play a solid show in a very small venue and have the potential to bring it to a larger scale. Together they are a strong unit that possess the musical skill and material to advance to the next level. With more time and development, the band will stay on track to bigger and better things.

The Players: Ryan Bachman, vocals, guitar; Shea Drenkow, bass; Steven Schwartz, guitar, saxophone; Anthony Gore, drums.

Photo by Allegra Azzopardi

Venue: 331 Club
City: Minneapolis, MN
Contact: booking@pornowolves.com
Web: pornowolves.com

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