DeWolff in Oxford: Impressive and mind-blowing blues rock

Live Review

DeWolff. Photo by Paula Smith.

By Dion Smith, Journalist and Paula Smith, Photographer

DeWolff Live Review – The Bullingdon – Oxford – March 20th 2024 

I had heard a fair bit about Dewolff in recent months and I was very interested in seeing them live, so I jumped at the chance to see this show at The Bullingdon in Oxford. 

Pablo van de Poel of DeWolff. Photo by Paula Smith.

DeWolff are a psychedelic blues rock band from Limberg in The Netherlands and have actually got 9 albums under their belt already, so in short a very experienced band who should definitely know their stuff.  I arrive at The Bullingdon with some excitement ready to hear what Dewolff could deliver live. 

The support act Silveroller are a fairly new band by comparison and actually did a very nice job warming up the Oxford crowd.  Delivering nicely crafted and well played blues rock tunes from their debut record “At Dawn”.  The band delivered a great high energy performance and seemed to really enjoy being up on stage and appeared confident playing their new material for the crowd. They actually went down incredibly well with many people in the crowd already owning their record and knowing the words to their songs…what a result!!  I was very impressed with this especially as it’s their first record and they have obviously started to build a solid fanbase.  Great job, Silveroller!! 

Now its time for the 3 piece from Limberg to show what they are all about. 

Luka van de Poel of DeWolff. Photo by Paula Smith.

DeWolff walk onstage to a cheering audience and guitarist / vocalist Pablo Van De Poel looks perplexed as he strums his guitar with no sound coming from his amplifier, Pablo’s tech “Richard” frantically appears onstage to investigate and the amplifier bursts into life and the band go headlong into their impressive first track “Night Train”. 

Van De Poel thanks everyone for coming and immediately asks the crowd, “Are you ready for the night train?”  The crowd roars as Pablo comes front and centre stage to show the crowd what he can do.  Pablo has an extraordinary talent on the guitar and every note played comes from somewhere deep within.  Pablo is an extremely underrated guitarist and can deliver a very solid and moving vocal performance also. 

As “Night Train” ends Pablo goes straight into a full-on blues guitar solo which is very tastefully played.  He has a lot to choose from when it comes to his musical palette and has a vast array of guitar tones and technique’s at his fingertips.  Of course let’s not forget the other two incredible musicians in DeWolff.  Drummer and Pablo’s brother Luka Van De Poel is in fact an extremely accomplished drummer. Last but not least Robin Piso completes the DeWolff lineup on Hammond organ. 

The band moved swiftly onto their next song “Made it to 27” which was immediately followed by “Treasure City Moonchild.” This band have serious groove and as I look behind me I can see everyone losing themselves in the music.  Pablo’s guitar riffs are huge and often anthem like, with some of his guitar parts bordering on slightly unusual, but still serving the song perfectly.  Luka shares vocal duties with Pablo from behind the drum kit and gets the audience participation going, and he’s actually a great singer also.  The crowd cheer and sing along, what a great night of music this is proving to be. 

Robin Piso of DeWolff. Photo by Paula Smith.

The next track is “Will O’ The Wisp” and opens with silky smooth guitar tone and instantly makes me think of late Gary Moore, I can hear some Billy Gibbons in Pablo’s playing also.   Pablo’s voice is quite something and can deliver soulful vocal lines with ease and can convey a lot of emotion with his voice. 

Pablo changes his guitars and delivers a huge guitar riff for the song “Tragedy? Not Today”. He moves all over his guitar pedalboard and is able to get a vast array of different tones. The track eventually builds into an incredible blues rock guitar solo at the end with Pablo again front and centre stage. 

“R U my saviour” came next and is another cleverly constructed blues rock song which was then followed by “Tired Of Loving You”, a slower paced track with beautiful Hammond organ playing, huge guitar riffs and of course an incredible guitar solo.  Pablos guitar often compliments and lifts the emotional and well delivered vocal lines.  The Hammond organ solo is impressive with Pablo playing a supporting role on guitar as Robin unleashes his Hammond on the crowd.  This track signals the end of the show and the band thank the cheering crowd and leave the stage.  What an awesome night! 

DeWolff. Photo by Paula Smith.

After glancing over at the setlist onstage I suddenly realise that there are 2 more songs for the Encore which were listed as “Nothings Changing” and “Freeway Flight.”  The band walk back on stage and ask the crowd what they want to hear, one more song which lasts 3 minutes? or a massive jam of “Nothings Changing” and “Freeway Flight” which would last about 25 minutes, not surprisingly everyone including me chose the latter! 

This was in fact incredible and all members of the band take it in turns to show the audience their musical ability.  They all seemed so at ease with one another musically that it felt that they could continue playing for hours. 

My verdict? First of all this band are certainly overlooked..they not only have a catalogue of well-written blues / rock songs, but they have incredibly talented players and performers in this band too.  I for one will be taking a look at their back catalogue and making some vinyl purchases!  It has been a long time since a band has impressed me this much, and in fact everyone who loves blues / rock with a 70’s feel should check out this band live, you will not regret it. 

I met Pablo after the show and he’s a very down to earth individual,  after I complimented the band and him on his playing he simply said..”thank you…and yes..I do try” which I found quite amusing. 

Incredible job, DeWolff, and hope you are back in the UK very soon! 

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Dion Smith

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