There is a sensory transference that happens when you see a band live after hearing their recorded versions first. It can be good, and sometimes it can be bad.
Wye Oak is all good. The duo from Baltimore helped close out day one of Savannah Stopover on March 6 with their alternative rock that seemed created for the Knights of Columbus venue.
The main hall of KC is an expansive room with vaulted 30-foot (my guess) ceilings. The stage for the Stopover bands was situated against the back wall and seemed to be dwarfed by the size of the room.
More interesting about this setting (probably my favorite of Stopover), is that despite the size of the room, the band is situated about a foot or so above the crowd, and with no annoying gates to separate the band from the crowd, the shows seemed very intimate. Intimacy in a big space is strange, yet gratifying.
Wye Oak, consisting of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, offers a live show far more atmospheric than the record preludes. While their own unique brand of indie rock is wonderful to have on the iPhone, in person it takes on a more embedded ambience.
This band produces a lot of sound. If you closed your eyes and just listened, it seemed as if five people were playing. Stack's handling of keys and drums is something to behold. While it became obvious that backing tracks were assisting, sometimes it was all manual and his talent is without reproach.
Wasner was a tour-de-force of a front woman, rocking through 2011's "Civilian" with her pretty guitars and bass. Her distorted breakdowns on guitar were something wonderful to hear live.
Midway through the show, Wasner admitted to the crowd that she was excited to debut music off their forthcoming album, "Shriek." If my memory and ears are not mistaken, she claimed that no one had heard some of the new material and she was very excited to play it for us. I like to think I heard her right.
That means the privileged patrons there heard new music from a great band. Exclusive club. That also means it was well worth my last $20.
The new "Wye Oak Exclusive Club" was treated to the new single, "The Tower," as well as other nameless tracks (so not named, because they haven't been released) from "Shriek." Wasner traded her distorted guitars in for a bass on the new album. The rhythm keys, drums and bass created an atmospheric foundation for Wasner's charming vocals to lead.
They closed out the night with the title track from "Civilian" to everyone's delight, especially me. I put it on in the car as soon as I left.
A friend, who I had run into at the show, said that he felt they needed more members. I argued that the lineup was excellent in its current state. Who doesn't want to see two people make glorious indie rock with the sound of a full ensemble?