Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wild Flag makes a great first impression in Chapel Hill

All photos by Justin Weber
The local music community was out in force to support Merge’s new all-girl supergroup, Wild Flag. The band hasn’t released an album, a single, a video, or a proper website, but the excitement was palpable throughout the sold out crowd.

Austin-based duo YellowFever opened up with some jangly pop that at times sounded like a garage band’s take on the Dirty Projectors. They played pretty stiffly and seemed shy and a bit nervous.

The most impressive aspect of the group was lead singer Jennifer Moore’s vocals. Her voice has a fantastic variety of tones and sounds and she displayed expert control of them during the operatic leaps in the vocal line.

After YellowFever left the stage, not a single person moved away from the stage. The anticipation was growing. The audience cheered at the first appearance of guitarist Carrie Brownstein. There’s no doubt here growing stardom is driving a lot of the early hype around the band.

The quartet took a shot together behind the stage before launching into their set with some incendiary guitar work. Brownstein’s guitar proudly displayed a sticker of The Who logo.

After a short story about going to Duke games as a kid and — no kidding — a Sidney Lowe joke, Brownstein said, “We’re actually here to play music, not talk about sports.” The stage banter was sparing thereafter.

There are moments when their sound turns psychedelic, but it’s never long before Wild Flag start trying to melt your face again. The audience didn’t know their songs, but they left wanting to. “I hope they get into the recording studio tomorrow,” one fan said.

Brownstein may be the figurehead, but guitarist Mary Timony often stole the spotlight with her playing and stage moves. Still pictures don’t do them justice. Wild Flag is a band to be seen in motion.

As an encore, Timony took the lead for a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden” followed by Brownstein tearing into vocals on Patti Smith’s “Ask the Angels.”

Wild Flag’s modus operandi is clear: remind everyone how fun rock and roll can be.

Wild Flag


1 comment:

blureu said...

Great review. You can listen to the b-side of their first single here: