Photos By: Rachel Frank
Last Wednesday Maryland based indie-folk turned newgaze pop band Wye Oak took to the stage at Belly Up Tavern, touring in support of their newest record Shriek. On the drum riser was multitasking master Andy Stack, rocking the one-handed drums whilst filling in the soundscape on the other hand with synth bass lines and keyboard parts. And the other half of the indie duo was lead singer Jenn Wasner, who traded off between the signature screaming distorted guitar sounds of earlier Wye Oak, and the most recent album’s prominent bass guitar and synthpop keys.
The band’s shift in musical focus for the new album kicked up an online storm as fans and critics forewarned against shaking up their tried and tested brand of raw and uncut indie rock. But since the dust has settled the new album has generally been received with praise and approval. They have successfully managed to reinvent themselves with a newfound positive energy and more upbeat songs, whilst retaining the heartfelt sincerity of Wasner’s lyrics and Stack’s powerfully honed drumming style.
The crowd definitely gave the greatest reaction to their older tunes like Holy Holy, with the punch-in-the-gut guitar chords and slamming drums. Newer numbers like The Tower were met with more of a seeming curiosity as the crowd head-bobbed and gazed up on stage at the new more electronic side of the band. Glory had the whole crowd dancing to Stack’s impressive one-handed beat and singing along with each of Wasner’s catchy falsetto choruses.
After explaining how much they hated awkward encores and pretending that this was their last song, they scampered back onstage to finish off the night with a Kate Bush cover of Running up That Hill and then the ever loved sing along Civillian.
Overall the concert was an eclectic and juxtaposing mix between the old and new sounds of Wye Oak, with the lows of their slow and heart-wrenching folk songs contrasting with the new electronic sounds of their synth and bass driven new album.