The Wooden Sky & Yukon Blonde @ Biltmore -- 09/25/10

For a while now, I had been hearing how great a band Yukon Blonde was live, but I just never had a chance to find out for myself. So when I found out they were not only coming, but co-headlining with The Wooden Sky, who I had seen live once before and recall enjoying, I jumped at the chance. Even though I didn't realise until a couple hours before the show that it would be the latter, not the former, closing out the night.

We were still lined up outside when the opening songs from the first band, Great Bloomers, wafted outside. Since it was a curfew show, they started at 8 sharp -- which was the same time as doors -- so I think a lot of people in this perpetually late city missed them. Which is a shame, because they were quite enjoyable. A very upbeat sound, with a twinge of roots and alt-country mixed in. Though as energetic as they were while playing, they seemed a little less so with their banter; there was maybe one monotone "we're excited to be here" and not much else. But their enthusiasm while playing made up for it and I am pretty sure I'll be catching them next time they're in town.

Next up was Yukon Blonde, and holy crap, wow, are they ever great live. With an intensity and raw power that is hard to match, they just straight up rocked out for the set. As soon as they launched into their first song, they completely owned the stage, and several times the audience was more than eager to clap or sing along. From the harmonies on "Wind Blows" to the energy of "Loyal Man", there was not a single note out of place in the set. Though there was a little bit of banter, they just let the music speak for itself. You could still definitely see their 60s influences throughout the set, but it comes off as just that, influence, and not blatant ripoff. I would definitely not hesitate to see them live again. Though I just have to ask, why don't they sound like this on the album? I like their self titled debut well enough, but it just seems so... flat compared to their live show. They really need to record live off the floor, or do something to capture the energy their performance.

While I admit I was going to the show more to see Yukon Blonde, I was looking forward to seeing The Wooden Sky again, even though hadn't listened to their new album. After a bit of a false start due to technical difficulties, they proceeded to rock the crowd. They, too, had a bit of a roots/folk influence, but combined it with a rock edge for a great sound. The set was very tight, and you could tell the band was completely at ease up on stage. And the lead singer was pretty damn charming. Mid way through the set they broke into a cover, "American Girl" by Tom Petty, which was a pretty straight ahead cover, but worked damn well. They wrapped up the set, but were obviously coming back for the encore, that started with "Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)". After a set like this, I think I am definitely going to have to start listening to them more.

I've had lots of luck this year, seeing shows where each band on the bill would be worth seeing on their own, and I think I can add this one to the list. All three of these bands I would definitely be interested in seeing live again.