Reviews > Shows
The Wheeler Brothers in Washington
The Wheeler Brothers
Every so often, you go to a club and the air vibrates with an electricity, foreshadowing a show the crowd will always remember.
That was the vibe at the recent Wheeler Brothers’ concert in the heart of Washington, D.C. and as anyone in the dancing, swaying, singing, clapping near capacity crowd would likely say, the prophesy was more than fulfilled.
The crowd was almost pulsating with energy when the five members of Austin, Texas-based Wheeler Brothers took the stage and launched into the fan favorite “Focus” from the band’s 2011 debut album “Portraits.” It didn’t even seem to register to anyone in the club that many audience members were at least a decade or two beyond the age of the song’s hero. Everyone was too busy happily making new friends, swirling around the club and raucously shouting out lyrics that speak of youth and infrastructures. It was that kind of night.
Certainly openers Bronze Radio Return, touring behind its latest release “Shake, Shake, Shake,” wet the crowd’s appetite for high-spirited fun. The New England-based rockers blazing 60-plus minute set powered by driving bass and drums had the near-capacity crowd buzzing.
But it’s no understatement to note that brothers Nolan, Tyler and Patrick Wheeler plus band mates Danny Matthews and A.J. Molyneaux took that buzz to an even higher level, transforming this upscale supper club into a mini-Woodstock of peace and some of the finest live indie Americana music heard this year.
So what exactly is indie Americana? In the case of The Wheeler Brothers, it moves from alt-country, steel infused title track of its debut almost to the indie-rock ala My Morning Jacket sound of “Call Me the Morning” to the Allman-Brothers flavored blues southern rock of “Sleep When I’m Dead,” all from the band’s debut album.
Although the band debuted several new songs from its sophomore release – “Long Hard Road” most of which leaned a bit more toward rock and a bit less toward alt country than those on their debut album – they showed plenty of restraint, weaving fan favorite songs throughout the set.
And even with the more rock-oriented songs, the band shows a keen sense of creativity as they work guitar, xylophone, and lap steel into the arrangements. That was obvious on some of its near-jam tunes including “Mississippi.”
The band took home five Austin Music Awards earlier this year. Watch for them to win more awards soon, only this time on a national level.
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