The Bowery Ballroom
May 6, 2016
Review and photos by David Chiu
If you caught Peter Wolf’s recent performance at the Bowery Ballroom, you wouldn’t think that the J. Geils Band singer recently turned 70 years old, as his charisma and funky dance moves appeared so timeless on stage. For the audience members, it was hard not to be both entertained and charmed by this spirited performer who’s been doing this now for 50 years.
Wolf was back in his hometown (he was born in the Bronx) in support of his latest and finest solo album A Cure for Loneliness. And on a rainy Friday night in the Big Apple, his music certainly provided a salve. With a top-notch band backing him up, Wolf, dressed in a leopard-printed jacket, performed material from that record and a mixture of previous solo and J. Geils material. The tracks off of A Cure for Loneliness, which included “Wastin’ My Time” complemented familiar old favorites such as “Give It to Me,” “Homework” and “Looking for a Love.” The show was an opportunity for the singer to also rework material—for example, he transformed the J.Geils classic “Love Stinks” into an Applachian tune, and his first solo hit “Lights Out” from the mid ’80s more stripped down as a rocker than the electro-funk-pop of the original. Overall, there were definitely moments in the show where it evoked the party atmosphere of J. Geils and times when it was very poignant and soulful, with a nod towards old school R&B and roots music.
To put it succinctly, the singer was a born showman. Not only was he shimmying, shaking and strutting, but Wolf told funny stories and delivered some cool and fast jive talkin’ (after all, he was a DJ in Boston prior to his fame as a singer). Like so many great performers from his generation, Wolf is proof that when it comes to rock and roll, age is nothing but a number.