Wye Oak @ Sonic Boom 03.28.11

March 28, 2011

"Welcome to our soundcheck.  It's gonna sound a lot like half of one of our songs."

Jenn and Andy, the duo that comprise Wye Oak flank the small makeshift stage built atop rows of records in Capitol Hill's Sonic Boom.  Immediately noticeable is the full sound present despite the lack of a bass player to fill things out.  My first impulse was to think "backing track" before I noticed Andy singlehandedly playing the keys without missing a beat while pumping along on snare and kick.  Also immediately apparent is that Jenn knows her way around a guitar,  she fiddles with the fx pedals that help fill out the two piece's massive melancholy sound.

Her voice is captivating and entrancing over opener "Plains" A strange tune which juxtaposes the bands traditional dreariness over a deliberate almost optimistic backdrop before everything unravels as the chorus lashes outs with impassioned frustration and noise.

The crowd banter is charming as Jenn describes the "typical seattle day" her and Andy had, drinking coffee and perusing Pike Place Market, she shows off a feather she bought from an "eskimo".  She requests mood lighting and the store delivers,  cutting the overheads.  The band now illuminated solely by the light of the windows, a much more fitting atmosphere.  "Oh yeah, tons of nerds gonna fall in love under the mood lighting in the record store"

With an appearance at Sasquatch looming, the bands contractual obligations prevented them from playing a show this evening thus I'd like to think extending our time together from the standard 3 or 4 songs to a nearly 40 minute set comprised of various songs off their new record "Civilian" out now via Merge.  The jump from the recording to the live expression is a small one, each song equally as massive as it's digital (or analog) counterpart.  Impressive for a band who don't use any frills or hidden tricks when presenting themselves.   Swaying from timid to tyrannic in an instant, perhaps the most brilliant thing about Wye Oak is their ability to make the transitions to and fro absolutely seamless.

Just before closing the band solicited requests obliging one from yours truly (what?! I had to leave, maybe they were gonna keep playing for an hour, I didn't know,  I have this thing called work ya know.) launching into an absolutely epic rendition of "I hope you die" from their ep My Neighbor My Creator.

In summary, whatever you do, do NOT miss this band at Sasquatch. They will melt your heart, destroy your ears, and you will beg them to do it again.

Listen to some of their tunes here