Band ex­pects warm wel­come in cold city

Reign­wolf ex­cited to re­turn for a big home­town con­cert

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - CITY + REGION - MATT OL­SON

When Jor­dan Cook lived on the prairies, he still went by Jor­dan Cook. Now he re­turns as Reign­wolf, the name he gave to him­self in Seat­tle, and now the three-man band he per­forms with.

He’s been away for years, but he still thinks of Saska­toon as home. It helps that his fam­ily still owns the house where he grew up.

“With­out Saska­toon, I wouldn’t have any of this,” he said in a phone in­ter­view. “Be­ing able to bring it back there means ev­ery­thing to me. It’s go­ing to be amaz­ing.”

Reign­wolf will come through Saska­toon for a con­cert on Mon­day at the Coors Event Cen­tre, fol­lowed by a show at The Ex­change in Regina on Nov. 14.

It’s the first time the gritty blues­rock group has toured through the prov­ince in sev­eral years: ac­cord­ing to Cook, the last time he was in Saska­toon was when Reign­wolf per­formed as an open­ing act for Black Sab­bath at the SaskTel Cen­tre in 2014. He still calls that con­cert one of his great­est mu­si­cal ex­pe­ri­ences in his home­town.

Cook said he al­ways loves com­ing back to play where he grew up. He joked that two of his first babysit­ters and some of his old school­teach­ers will be in the au­di­ence for the Saska­toon show — be­cause he gets so much sup­port from his old com­mu­nity.

Cook and bass player S.J. Kar­dash both hail from Saska­toon, while drum­mer Joseph Bra­ley is orig­i­nally from Texas. The cur­rent tour takes the group up the west­ern coast of the United States and Canada be­fore cut­ting across the coun­try.

“The way (the band) is be­ing re­ceived, even in spots we’ve never been be­fore ... it’s amaz­ing,” he said.

The cold weather isn’t a new thing for Cook or Kar­dash — but Cook said Reign­wolf ’s drum­mer isn’t much of a fan. Ac­cord­ing to Cook, af­ter record­ing their sin­gle Are You Sat­is­fied? in Saska­toon a few years ago, Bra­ley stepped from the heated stu­dio build­ing into the -40 C weather of a prairie win­ter and col­lapsed to the ground in a mo­ment of phys­i­cal shock.

“Ev­ery time he’s been back to Saska­toon since, he’s been like, ‘I hope that doesn’t hap­pen again,’ ” Cook joked. “I get ex­cited to bring him to Saska­toon.”

A lot of the city hasn’t changed since Cook grew up here — frigid cli­mate in­cluded — and he’ll tell you that’s ex­actly the way he likes it.

“That’s beau­ti­ful to me. That part of it, I’ll never take for granted,” he said. “We’re re­ally lucky to have it not be fast-paced ... it’s such a great place to come home to.”

While the city hasn’t changed, Cook and Reign­wolf most def­i­nitely have. When he still lived in the city, Cook said he per­formed as Jor­dan Cook. It wasn’t un­til he’d left to pur­sue a mu­sic ca­reer that he adopted the moniker of Reign­wolf, and the two are very dif­fer­ent per­form­ers.

The Cook that started out in Saska­toon was get­ting used to who he was as a per­former. Reign­wolf is much more raw, both lyri­cally and mu­si­cally, with a rough, pow­er­ful, smoky sound that adds a bril­liant layer to the blues rocker. And it means a lot for him to be able to share that new raw­ness with all the peo­ple he knew grow­ing up, from friends still liv­ing in Saskatchewan to fam­ily, in­clud­ing his 91-year-old grand­mother Effie.

“I re­ally find when we get the au­di­ence go­ing, ev­ery­one is giv­ing some­thing to each other. It’s the way con­certs and rock and roll should be,” he said.

“The Reign­wolf thing is how I feel when I play.”

COREY BLAZ

Jor­dan Cook, known as Reign­wolf, is re­turn­ing to his home­town of Saska­toon on Nov. 12.

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