Wye Oak at Ottobar

Wye Oak is a Baltimore indie rock band who has met with some success, but they always come home to play at the Ottobar. They ended their most recent tour there this past weekend. I had actually never seen them live before and wasn’t actually sure I was going to go this time. The first show they announced was on a Sunday night on a day I already had tickets to two different plays, so I definitely wasn’t going to that one. After that sold out really quickly they added a second show for Saturday night. I sort of waffled on it because while I really love 50% of their music I’m either indifferent to or don’t care for the other 50%. They play some stuff that’s sounds more experimental and spacey to me, which I don’t love, but anything they play that has a good beat and melody to it I dig. Anyway my friend Paul texted and said he was going with some other friends and asked if I wanted to go, so that gave me the kick in the pants to do it. It felt very prescient then that leading into the final song of the evening singer Jenn Wasner talked about how whenever she’s getting ready to go out on tour she gets really nervous about it and just wants to stay curled up in the safety and comfort of her home, but that it’s always really great to get out into the world and actually share the same space with actual people in real life. It took all the energy I had to force myself to get up off my couch and go out at 9 pm (I’m too old for shows that don’t start until that late. Why aren’t there matinee concerts?), but like she said it was really great to get out and listen to music and enjoy the evening with other people.

The opening act was some band called Thor and Friends. I had no idea what to expect from them going in. Apparently what I should have expected was marimba. So much marimba. It’s not the most offensive opening act I’ve ever seen because it’s not like it was aurally unpleasant, it was just sooo boring. One of the people I was with joked that it was like going to see Pure Moods in concert. I guess if I needed something to meditate to it would have been fine, but as something I’m listening to live. No thanks. I also appreciated the joke made by one of the guys I was with about creating a Thor and Friends cover band called Loki and Friends. At least we got some laughs out of it even if we didn’t get any good music.

Happily Wye Oak was much better. They definitely played a few songs I didn’t care for that much, but overall I liked what they played. I enjoyed getting to hear them play “Civilian” live, which if you know a Wye Oak song at all it’s probably that one. It’s been used like like 185 tv shows, so there’s a good chance you’ve heard it even if you don’t know it. It was a good show with a good crowd, and I’m glad I got myself up out of my house to go.

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