"This is really special for us"
Wye Oak returned to their hometown of Baltimore Saturday night to the welcoming arms of a sold-out crowd. Performing at a converted church otherwise known as 2640 Space, the above words were spoken more than a few times by guitarist/vocalist Jen Wasner over the course of the evening, and they capture the essence of what Saturday night was all about. It was special.
Pre show, Wasner and her cohort drummer, Andy Stack, could be seen wandering around the venue almost indistinguishable from the crowd that had come to see them play. As they made their way around the room, hugs, and lots of them, could be seen being exchanged between the band members and the people that they passed by. It became clear that this really was a homecoming, and this really was an audience full of their friends and family. A condition made even more fitting by the fact that it was Wasner's 25th birthday. "Special" was in the air.
But that's nothing new for Wye Oak.
It's no secret that we here at ChunkyGlasses love this band. Personally, each and every time I've had the pleasure of experiencing them live, they’ve surprised in different ways. This time, though, it was the band’s heart that surprised me. Sure, they put out some pretty emotional lyrics. Sure, Wasner tears into her guitar with a rawness that not only complements those lyrics, but gives them body. But what was most clear Saturday night was that these two really, REALLY love what they do. Over the course of about an hour and half, they would show us that they not only love what they do…they’re really damn good at it.
To be sure, this was a typical Wye Oak set. In fact, it didn't deviate much from the set they delivered at the beginning of the tour to a similarly sold-out crowd at The Black Cat in Washington, DC (read our review of that show here). The difference between the two shows, though, is all in the delivery. Having left the streets of Baltimore as indie darlings a mere 5 weeks ago, Wye Oak have returned home giant f@#@ing rock stars. Or at least they play like they are. If the first time that I saw this band at Ottobar, also a homecoming show, was the rawest I have ever see them, this show was most confident.
Leaning heavily on the their new album Civillian (The Altar, Holy Holy and the albums closer, Doubt) while including a few songs off of The Knot as well as a devastating (isn’t it always?) rendition of I Hope You Die (off of the EP, My Neighbor/My Creator) to close the set, the band left the audience as happy for them as they were happy to deliver it. And somewhere in the middle of it all were guest horn sections, emotional shout outs to friends and family and an absolutely metaltastic take on Glen Danzig’s classic Mother. Yep. That actually happened.
There are very few bands on the larger stage today that are this good. Baltimore scene. Indie scene. Whatever scene. Wye Oak rises above it by just being a good damn band. That's important, because at 25 (as of last night) and 26 respectively, Jen Wasner and Andy Stack already have a hell of a good body of work behind them. And they seem to be on course to continue adding to it in increasing orders of magnitude for as long as they damn well feel like it. And that's something really special..for us.
Check out some more photos from the evening by clicking on the image below