Like for everything else, the pandemic put a stop to Monday residencies, but yesterday, the Warbly Jets reopened the tradition with the first night of their August residency at the Echo. It was a return to the source for the young rock band, which has done several international pre-pandemic tours, opening for The Dandy Warhols, Stone Temple Pilots, and Liam Gallagher.
As it has always been the case for residencies, several bands played before and after their set, and plenty of other acts will be announced all-month-long, each Monday. But yesterday, Kevin, Mothé, and Historics were part of the first Monday residency at the Echo. Welcome back!
Kevin (a quartet) was a lot of fun, they elevated the temperature of the room right away. ‘You will never find us on the internet,’ they told us, and they weren’t totally wrong, except for this @kevin.is.the.worst Instagram handle. Self-deprecating and unpredictable, they played a punk-chaos-inspired set with a frenetic rhythm and a B-52s haunted keyboard. The two frontwomen of the band (they were both singing) did a disheveled dance party on the floor of the venue but the entire set was completely impulsive. With vocals screamed at the top of their lungs, thunderous drums, and reverb surf guitars, they approached their song like attacks or assaults, and their set was a colorful explosion of female voices trying to keep up with the moody tempo going from sludgy riffs to manic accelerations.
It was Mothé’s first show ever but you would not have guessed it at all. They had tender melodies, bright orchestrations, luminous guitars, and fervent vocals. Alternating between sweet moments and songs delivered in a more aggressive manner, their set was diverse and buoyant with poppy hooks, sort of jazzy inspirations, and dancefloors. Marrying gritty delivery with sweeping pop moments, they were a young band making a striking debut on stage.
The Warbly Jets have the sense of spectacle, and their stage performance was accompanied by an abundance of strobe lights, smog, and other lighting effects that made my photographers’ job very challenging, but the entire night was tough to capture. They have toured with big names, and they transformed the small Echo stage into a big arena game. Meanwhile frontman Samuel Shea was moving restlessly from the back to the front of the stage, commanding the place, although it was often difficult to follow his antics due to the darkness and ever-changing lighting. They played many new songs, like the recent synth-fueled ‘NASA,’ and with two synths on each side of the stage, they expanded their otherwise guitar-driven sound. All the songs were dominated by a combination of synths, guitars, and the morose tone of the vocals. Have they taken some lessons from Mr. Gallagher himself? There was naturally a lot of energy and confidence in the performance, plenty of psychedelic and strong guitars, infectious drumbeat, catchy bass lines, and yes, a sort of Brit-pop vibe. ‘Alive,’ one of their most well-known songs, which earned them comparisons to UK bands from Primal Scream, Blur, or Oasis, was an explosive number, but most of the songs were delivered with the same energy.
It was their first show in 2 years, and their sound seems to have evolved into a more synth-oriented and darker tone; plus, they were not wearing their black leather jackets anymore. They were less the rockers who had taken the right pauses before, their set was probably less catchy and, the music sounded more experimental, more fragmented, despite their thick wall of sound. Behind the blinding strobe lights, they looked more enigmatic and distant, although still loud and in charge of the place.
The night closed with Historics, an impressive electronic number by Don DeVore, who is also a member of the band Collapsing Scenery with Reggie Debris aka Mickey Madden, Maroon 5’s ex-bassist. From an all-organ and grandiose sound to wild guitar improvisations to symphonic keyboards to scratchy curiosities, glitchy dissonances, and clicking sounds, it was a sonic exploration going in many directions and dimensions, genreless and aimless, wandering between soundscapes but with a purpose.
Setlist (Warbly Jets)
Let Go: Be Free
An emotional song with Miya’s acrobatic and vulnerable vocals
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1973 (Volume 4, Number 12)
From Robert Johnson to the Ramones – what a life!
one of the great top tens of the 2020
will mark their return to the road in early February, 2023 with a string of to-be-announced US arena dates
enjoyable and soulful romp
another full day of music
his weakest album to date
hoedown, snappy , country slappy
two nights with Olivia Rodrigo at the Greek
classic rock or classic prog