This Saturday afternoon, Japanese rock-and-rollers Guitar Wolf will invade Cooper-Young Fest for a performance on the stage sponsored by Goner Records and the Grizzlies. Formed in Nagasaki in 1987, Guitar Wolf are the living embodiment of garage rock, complete with stage names (Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf, Drum Wolf), blistering fuzzed-out rock riffs, and a whole lot of leather. The band is the only out-of-town act to perform at any of the stages during Cooper-Young Fest, but their ties to Memphis run deep, as Goner Records released Wolf Rock! way back in 1993. That record would be the first release for Goner, followed by the release of the Oblivians album Call the Shots. Not a bad start.
If there were a best-case scenario to see a band like Guitar Wolf, Cooper-Young Fest is probably it. The festival will no doubt be packed, and watching a band like Guitar Wolf blow the minds of innocent bystanders who only wanted to buy some artisan craft goods could and very well may be your best source of entertainment all month. After working with Goner, Guitar Wolf released records on Matador and even Sony before forming their own record label and releasing T-Rex from a Tiny Space Yojouhan earlier this year. The band is also playing at the Hi-Tone later that night with tour mates Hans Condor (another band pushing the limits of live rock-and-roll), but that show will cost you $12.
Other highlights at Cooper-Young Fest include Chickasaw Mound (also on the Goner Stage), the Dirty Streets (headlining the main stage), and Reverend John Wilkins (playing the Mulan Stage). Plan accordingly.