I stepped into the front room at the Bourbon Theatre at about 8:20 on Saturday night, and the room was surprisingly full for a 9 o’clock show. There was a band playing. Huh? No show ever starts early! I looked more closely and noticed that most of the crowd was a bit younger than I would expect at the Wet Radio CD release party.
Oh. This is the end of the early show.
Soon enough the minors filed out and the 21+ crowd shuffled in. It was a solid crowd right from the get-go; it seemed like most people showed up a few minutes before 9:00 and stuck around for the whole show.
A few minutes after 9:00, The Dancing Dead began their set. Their genre tab on Facebook says “heavy indie,” and I think the “heavy” is a bit of a stretch. The guitar players wore matching yellow flannel shirts. The drummer must have missed the memo and wore his dark-colored flannel instead. The bassist, Sarah Sulzle, is the standout of this band. This is not because she is female, and not because she was the only member not plaid-clad. She actually plays the bass and has great tone.
Once The Dancing Dead cleared off the stage, Wet Radio moved their drum kit on and started getting ready to go. The guitar and bass rigs were already set up. Setting up ahead of time surely saved some time during the show, because I think I counted 4 (!!) guitar cabinets, including a small practice amp, and David Tuttle’s bass rig had two separate amps.
The extensive setup paid off in sonic quality though. As soon as Wet Radio kicked off their first song, the party was on. The band sounded great, not only because they played very well, but they had the advantage of having their recording engineer/producer Sean Joyce doing the live mixing. It really does make a difference to have an engineer that is familiar with the music.
In addition to the complex amplifier setups, Wet Radio brought in a lighting rig for their set. It adds a lot to a show to have a light show, especially in the front room at the Bourbon where the installed lighting is uhh… lame. There were a lot of strobe lights, and I got a touch dizzy toward the end, but the lighting made their set look like the “headliner” set.
Wet Radio’s live experience is as all-consuming as their recorded work. It’s loud. It’s intense. It makes your head bob whether you are aware of it or not. The huge, effected vocals in conjunction with the more “atmospheric” musical parts make your head spin; the grooves move you. Physically.
When the strobe lights stilled and the last cymbal crash rang out, Wet Radio made way for A Different Breed.
ADB always strikes me as a well-oiled machine. The band played a tight set to a crowd that had their Lincoln following represented well. One of the things that makes ADB unique is their use of three of the four members’ voices. Lead vocalist Caleb Moore handles most of the vocals, but guitarist Sean Broderick and bassist Chuck Fleming get to sing some too. Fleming more or less sings lead on the song “Crutch,” the first single from their upcoming album.
A Different Breed finished out the night with “Crutch.” I was a little disappointed that they didn’t play “Did you Earn that Ego?” But maybe next time.
If you couldn’t make to the show Saturday, you definitely missed out on a good time. But you did not miss out on a chance to get Wet Radio’s “Tread Heavily”. You can download it on iTunes, Amazon, CdBaby, or wherever you get digital music.
But, being able to download albums anywhere is no excuse not to…
…get out and pay some cover charges f*ckers!