The first time I saw The Warlocks live was at the Barfly in Camden in 2003, when the dark and dirty venue with a tiny stage was still “the place” for all the emerging (and cool) rock bands. At that time, they boasted two drummers as well as strutting their stuff as if they were the greatest band in the world. However, I don’t recall the gig as being memorable in any way, probably the sound was just not right for the Barfly, who knows, who cares, I still bought “Phoenix” and pretty much forgot about them. Fast forward 14 years and here they are, right in the middle of the Italian countryside, headlining the third night of Bliss Beat Festival, in a situation that I would describe, to put it mildly, as surreal.
The Warlocks get to the venue in 5 (only one drummer this time). Clad in total black, boots, jeans, jacket, sunglasses and, in spite of the torrid heat, they manage to keep cool as fuck, not a single droplet of sweat on their pale skin, while in the background, colourful and happy people randomly strike acroyoga poses or meditate or find solace in the swimming pool. I am pretty sure that they must have wondered “What the fuck are we doing here?!?” but it didn’t last long, for as soon as they hit the stage a magic synergy eloped between band and audience. Building up slowly and with deeper, lysergic intensity as the set progressed, embracing the space in an almost mystical shroud. I believe I entered an ecstatic state for at 2/3 of the gig. I felt (and am pretty damn sure the others felt it too) the music and each sound vibrate through my body, in a sort of symbolic and primordial fuck. A relentless stream of sensations, living thoroughly in the “here and now”. I didn’t get to buy their new CD but the gig was one of the best I went to in the last 10 years. After it was all over and while frontman Bobby Hecksher wallowed in the pool, the rest of the band stopped for a beer and a chat about the privilege on being different, about music and the beauty of the moment.
The Warlocks: Bobby Hecksher, Earl V. Miller, Christopher Dipino, John Christian Rees, Danny Hole