So, Friday night I traveled down Route 1 to get to the Ottobar. Or at least I attempted. Around Perry Hall, road work had closed off a section, so I had to re-route to I-95 and I-695 solely based off of “instinct.” So I got to the Ottobar about 30 minutes later then I had intended and had missed most of the opener, Art Department, however the little bit I caught left a funny taste in my mouth. The borderlining screeching vocals combined with the constant hi-hat bashing drum lines became very tiring for me, and I only saw them for about 3 songs.
Next, Height with Friends came up. I never have really held this indie-rap group with any high-esteem, seeing them live at Whartscape and hearing them on record always felt awkward. They had awesome beats but the rapping of Height never really did anything for me. For some reason though, it finally clicked, at least in the live setting. Everyone was on rhythmically. Songs like “Druid Hill Lake” and “Dreams don’t Always Come True” from their recent Bed of Seeds LP blew the crowd away with bass heavy beats and the occasional allusion to home (obviously in the former of the two). What I think was their last song (memories a bit spotty after Double Dagger last night, more on that to come), the titular track from that LP was simply memorizing, with lively samples and epic beats. Finally, I understand why people go nuts for these guys.
Eventually Jenn and Andy took to the stage. I know musical skill isn’t really judged in the modern indie music scene, but I must say, every time I see Wye Oak live, I am amazed by Andy’s skill to play drums and keyboard at the same time. I know its been probably overdone at this point, but it really is something awesome. They opened up with “For Prayer,” the second track from The Knot. Live, it really captures the essence of the song’s amazing buildup, with the almost twangy guitar part. Throughout the night, Jenn’s voice soared over the bassy keyboard sounds and the occasional melodica. They expressed their relief to be back in front of their friends and family back home, following a lengthy tour, with songs off of all of their releases, and a few new ones for their album, which is expected to come out in Spring of next year which overall sounded a little more straightforward then previous works. Looking forward to their next one.