Baltimore’s Wye Oak gave a visceral and sincere performance on Saturday night following Montreal sweethearts, Braids. I missed Braids, but we’ll not talk about that here. Fortunately, I was ontime for Wye Oak. Wye Oak is a very likable duo — combines electronic indie rock with a folk flavour, just the occasional dash of roots, but lots more distortion with buzz and reverb.
Jenn Wasner took up the bass for about a third of the show, though she never forgot the synth. She’s often lauded for her guitar skills, but the bass seems to bring out an intensity in her.
The bass had the effect of turning putting her ethereal presence on the ground. She balanced it beautifully; Jenn’s gentle, pretty voice could magnify as large as it needed. There was such complete focus and emotion to her performance. Even when she switched to a guitar, she continued to be so present in the room, eyes opened or closed.
When she began doing vocal exercises to clear her voice from a cold, she had the whole room rooting for her, sending their most loving vibes.
Wye Oak, of course, is only half the magic here. Andy Stack is so sensitively attuned to Jenn while managing drums and synth and computer on his own. He glances up at her with attentiveness.
After making sure things are copacetic, he’s one hand on the drum, one hand on the synth.
For those who stayed (and there were plenty who did) for Wye Oak, the show was solid. Just like Braids, Wye Oaks shows that it only takes a few people to make a lot of sound.