in the backwoods they understand

Sometimes a body just needs some boot stompin’, beer-swiggin’ American rock and roll. That’s precisely what the crowd got at the Majestic Theater in Madison, Wisconsin on February 15, 2014 when they saw The Wild Feathers.

Affectionately dubbed “The Snowed Out Tour” according to Taylor Burns due to the sub-freezing temperatures the Nashville quintet has been encountering throughout the Midwest, the band warmed up the room with a blazing set that hit every track on their debut record along with a new song. Highlights included “Hard Times,” crowd-sing-along favorite “Left My Woman,” and barn-burner “Backwoods Company”. ¬†Also of note were their well-chosen encore choices by The Band and Led Zeppelin – where their main set was a stone-solid performance the encore was more akin to a jukebox sing-along with your best pals.

Part of The Wild Feathers’s appeal is the diversity found among the members – drummer Ben Dumas can bang it out with the best of them, Burns has a bluesy bent that calls to mind Chris Robinson, and Joel King’s garage-rock howl is tempered by Ricky Young’s gorgeous delivery. Preston Wimberly rounds out the four-part harmonies but really shines on guitar; his solos actually add to the quality of the songs as opposed to being indulgent or distracting. Such a wealth of talent in one place led to a truly memorable evening.

Opening acts Saints of Valory and Jamestown Revival were no slouches either – SOV’s anthemic rock is ready for an arena stage and the Jamestown boys have buckets of charm. The three bands will be touring together into March. Click here to get dates and free tour sampler.

You can check out all the photos from the show here.

Hard Wind, Backwoods Company, I Can Have You, If You Don’t Love Me, Got It Wrong, Hard Times, I’m Alive, How, Tall Boots, [New Song], American, Left My Woman, The Ceiling
Hey Hey What I Can I Do (Led Zeppelin cover), The Weight (The Band cover)

i’ve been hit, i’ve been hit, i’ve been hit

The High Noon Saloon on Madison, Wisconsin’s near east side fashioned itself into an indie-rock haven on August 6th, 2008. Brighton, MA, Oxford Collapse, and We Are Scientists came together for a show that touched on several facets of the near-all-encompassing genre.

Midwest favorites Brighton, MA opened the night with a mix of material from the upcoming release Amateur Lovers and familiar tunes. The new material is impressive and well-crafted, and despite being a departure from earlier efforts it still maintains the band’s lush sound and sophisticated perspective.

Throwing a change-up, the trio known as Oxford Collapse brought oodles of energy and a punk sensibility to the lineup. The band isn’t polished, but that works in favor of their aesthetic. Oxford Collapse’s raucous and unpredictable nature is a refreshing turn. They come across as distinctly live and not a group of people going through a series of rehearsed movements and interactions.

We Are Scientists topped off the night with wit and charm and curiously catchy hits. Their set was nicely paced and balanced with material from old and new releases, and on the whole the songs were more dynamic live than their recorded counterparts. The most impressive thing about the night, though, was how flat-out fantastic We Are Scientists are live. They’ve honed in on the right mix of melody, spunk, showmanship, and relatability to cross over from merely talented to truly worth seeing.

Click here for photos from the show. Click here to see performances of “It’s A Hit” and “Textbook” from the show (though please note the poor quality doesn’t do the band justice).