Local indie folk legends don’t like “Free Bird”!
Ha, that’s not fair, but Wylder, a local band from Virginia, played an excellent set weaving in harmonious and catchy folk songs, with witty banter at The Hamilton Live on July 12th. This also served as a release show for their new album, Golden Age Thinking. They played the entire album in the track list order during the set (save one song). In total they performed 19 songs, and by all accounts a fine time was had by all.
At one point Will McCarry (lead vocals and guitar) asked the smiling crowd up front for requests, and the first shout of “Freebird” was gracefully ignored, but the second prompted Will to jokingly (presumably) offer to leave if said again.
After a spirited set by the opening Mystery Friends, Wylder kicked off with “Living Room”, which briefly gave me a Kings of Leon vibe, then later played “Sunstroke”, from the album Rain and Laura, a fast-paced, violin-heavy ode to not seizing an opportunity yet waiting for that love to return.
Wylder put on a robust showing at The Hamilton Live, with seven performers on stage, including one returning member from their original band (Save the Arcadian), that morphed into the current iteration. The core of Wylder is Will, Lonnie Southall (guitar, mandolin), Mike Pingley (drums) and Jackson Wright (bass, piano). Of note, Mike had a baby two days prior to the show (or as Will corrected himself, ‘his wife had the baby’).
The DC crowd was also robust, giving local music a try, as the venue was fairly full with both new fans, and old fans from their early days.
I often caught hints and snippets within their chords and harmonies that reminded me of mainstream folk bands (like The Lumineers for “Snake in the Grass” or The Head and the Heart), but it makes no difference if those lofty heights of success are still to come, Wylder’s current oeuvre is wholly satisfying and enjoyable on its own.
Starting at the fifth song, they transitioned to playing Golden Age Thinking from start to finish. Some of the highlights from the album include:
“Ready to Break” is hand clappy and upbeat, and one of the best, most entertaining songs they played on the evening.
I enjoyed the piano and the slow, haunting intro (maybe a mandolin?) for “Winter”, where Will also showed off a bit of vocal range, giving us an eyes-shutting, shoulder-raising falsetto.
The opening of “Ghosts” trickles with melancholy, yet finds the stamina to bend into a jam session, as Will’s richly crooned lyrics and the backing chorus soared around us, embracing us, possibly causing a few spines to tingle among those dancing in the front section.
Once they polished off Golden Age Thinking, for the encore they came back for a robust five additional songs, including Radiohead’s “Burn the Witch”, and “Liar” from their time as Save the Arcadian. They might even still be using that moniker if there hadn’t been a copyright issue with the TV series How I Met Your Mother. Having never watched that show, all I know is the Arcadian is a hotel, and the cast try to save it. Right? At any rate, I would think a homage like that would be applauded, but no.
So now we have Wylder, and that is certainly good too. Get all your folk needs satisfied via your own copy of Golden Age Thinking. Be on the lookout for future shows, because they are certainly going to grace DC again soon.
Snake in the Grass
(Performing Golden Age Thinking)
Ready to Break
If I Love You
We Met Just Once
Right to My Head
Burn the Witch (Radiohead cover)
Liar (Save the Arcadian cover)
Adventure (Save the Arcadian cover)