It’s amazing the amount of sound that Wye Oak creates on stage. Despite being only two people (with a third helping out at times with the brass), the group hit the audience at Bowery Ballroom last night with a certifiable wall of sound to rival any traditional set up. Part of that has to do with Andy Stack fitting the description of a multi-instrumentalist to a ‘t’: the man plays drums and keyboard at the same time! His partner, vocalist/guitarist Jenn Wasner, is no slouch either, warping the six strings into a whatever she needed, whether it be a punk blast or a folk-y stroll. She even powered through a bit of a technical issue, as her guitar string broke during the very first song. “Does anybody know how to change a guitar string? Because I don’t,” she joked with the crowd before turning serious. “Really, if you do, hop on here.” Sadly for any guitar technicians in the crowd, the band’s sound guy came out and fixed it for her.
The song choices were varied, mostly pulling from Wye Oak’s latest record Civilian, while also sampling from the band’s second album The Knot. Curiously absent were any songs from the band’s debut, If Children.
The highlight of the set (at least for this reviewer) was the slowed-down cover of Danzig’s “Mother,” which turned Wasner’s normally floaty vocals into a snarl fitting of Glenn Danzig himself. After the song, some dude shouted out, “That was awesome, but what is it?!”, much to the frustration of those in the audience who had been proudly headbanging moments before. Jenn and Andy took it in their stride, telling the confused guy that it was Danzig, and that they hope they didn’t ruin it. Not at all.