Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Concert Review: The Wiyos with Steppin In It at Joe’s Pub, NYC 3/7/09

by Vanessa Lee Raymond

 

Joe’s Pub was cooking this Saturday night and the packed room positively hummed in anticipation. We found a perch at the bar just before the start of the show, and were pleased to find our drinks slung by none other than that ole whiskey drinker Josiah Early, a fellow roots musician.

 

Openers Steppin’ In It did us proud with their easy, laid-back oldtimey vibe. Frontman Joshua Davis kept the tone sweet and low with melodious vocals. Steel guitarist Joe Wilson did a small amount of show stealing, but we didn’t mind. And we must concede that the band is definitely getting their bang for their buck with accordionist/trumpeter/harmonica player Andy Wilson. In fact, across the board, the group’s lean roots songwriting matched their impressive musicianship. The sheer number of instruments the quartet played was astonishing – if anyone can explain the roster of oddly shaped mouth harps and flutes Wilson played throughout the evening, do tell. We’re intrigued.

 

Under the Wiyos’ marquee the stage became a street market for sounds, each musician hawking his wares in earnest. In addition to stellar steel guitar playing, driving bass, a theatre of vocals and solid guitar, we were presented with harmonicas, kazoos, wash-board, twin megaphones, beat box vocals, ukulele and an array of vocalizations and miniature noise-makers. The evening was marked with driving rhythms and witty repartee. Michael Farkas on lead vocals wooed the crowd with his winsome looks and shoe-shiner’s voice. Joebass lost his hat in the midst of a particularly hard-hitting tune. Parrish Ellis imparted a revealing road story (I thought what happens on tour stays on tour, no?) and educated us on the complex grammar of “faux-French.” The crowd was caught up in a circus of sound that whirled in with a beat boxer and whooshed out with a 10-piece encore comprised of the two touring bands and two special guests.

 

All in all we’re glad to see that the Wiyos are keeping good company, and it’s good to see them stop by their old stomping grounds every once in a while. We hope they make good on their promise to present the 10-piece ensemble next time they’re in town.

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March 9, 2009 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , ,

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