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)

the horror of our love

There is a complex formula of musicality, humor, geekiness and spunk that – when properly computed – results in that which is Ludo. On their major label debut, You’re Awful, I Love You, Ludo throws listeners twelve tracks of powerful pop goodness that they’ll be humming along to long after the disc stops spinning.

Kicking things off is “Love Me Dead”, a live staple that’s been around for years. Ambitious, theatrical, and hook-filled, the song not only sets the tone for the album but for the band as well. Neither disappoint. Competing for attention are thundering drums and pulsing guitar of “Drunken Lament”, the adventure and choir-strong vocals of “Lake Pontchartrain”, and the dance-able rock of “Such As It Ends”. Not to be pigeonholed, the band also successfully takes on more intimate fare in “Streetlights” and “Topeka”.

Ludo is at their best, however, when taking a darker turn. The hurricane-force chorus of “Please” could move mountains, and its instrumentals the most hardened heart. Tight and driving, they perfectly echo the longing of the lyrics. “The Horror of Our Love” has incredibly dark lyrics surrounding obsessive, murderous love while offering one of the most beautiful musical releases at the song’s chorus. Calm and ethereal, it produces an opposite physical effect – the listener is left breathless while something tugs at them from deep within.

You’re Awful, I Love You drops 2/26/08.
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As a bonus, I was able to see Ludo perform several songs from You’re Awful, I Love You at their show at The Majestic in Madison, WI on January 25, 2008.

Standout tracks from the material included “Drunken Lament” with its tight drums and “Lake Pontchartrain” which is even fuller and more energetic live. “Go-Getter Greg” worked well, sounding a bit like Fountains of Wayne if they had unresolved anger issues. “Please” was epic, though not quite as nuanced as the album version. And of course there was “Love Me Dead”, but its success was no surprise as the dichotomous lyrics beg for a sing-along.

There was a good mix of songs from the band’s self-titled LP and their rock opera Broken Bride. “Good Will Hunting By Myself” never fails to entertain, “Hum Along” served as a big payoff for most of the crowd, and the Broken Bride material still sounds fresh with “Save Our City” continuing to be a crowd favorite and one of Ludo’s best live songs.

Broken Bride
Drunken Lament
Go-Getter Greg
Saturday Night Thunderbolt
Lake Pontchartrain
In Space
Save Our City
Girls On Trampolines
Scream, Scream, Scream
Air-Conditioned Love
The Lamb and the Dragon
Hum Along
Love Me Dead
Good Will Hunting By Myself
Epic [Faith No More cover]