There are reasons why I usually ignore the standard music scene in my blog posts. Those reasons include :
- the fact that the music industry has a huge promotional machine and really doesn’t need my help,
- the sheer quantity of venues that offer music in the region making it impossible to see even a fraction of it,
- as a single mom who gets up around 6:00am it is undesirable for me to get out and stay out late enough to see bands AND
- after dating at least a score of musicians over my lifetime, spending a huge chunk of my Freshman year of College hanging out at Berkley School of Music (I even had a student ID although I was never enrolled) and having seen almost every band that played at Rockitz in Richmond for three years during my VCU days I am jaded by having seen some of the best musicians in the world up close a personal which developed little tolerance for mediocrity.
In other words, the last way I want to spend my time is in a loud place with drunk and/or stoned people listening to a collection of less than stellar musicians insult everyone’s intelligence with poorly rendered unimaginative songs with stupid lyrics.
So I am really glad that I dragged my tired, grumpy self out to The Southern in Charlottesville last night to catch most of the first act (had to go to bed by 10:30) of David Wax Museum. They were well worth the effort!
This band of credible musicians generate innovative sounds with interesting songs engaging the audience with their collected showmanship. Influence by Mexican, Irish, classical and folk music with some sounds of Brazil and indie rock tossed in to create a smart uniquely American (and I mean that in the broadest sense inclusive of all the American continents) sound.
David Wax, an impressive musician, energetic and fun to watch, may have his name on the band but Charlottesville native, Suz Slezak was the clear focus of the crowd last night. She is indeed amazing. Versatile in her musical talents, she played no less than four different instruments for the short time I was there- a keyboard, an accordion, a violin and a donkey’s jaw bone that she rattled and scraped to make the most intriguing sounds. Let’s face it, the jawbone is quite an unusual instrument in our culture but I bet as this band climbs to star status it will become something more prominent in the music scene.
The band is rounded out by Greg Glassman and a drummer Phil Mayer who both are fantastic musicians yet relatively subdued onstage compared to Wax.
I am guessing most of the performance was garnered from their latest recording, Knock, Knock Get Up featuring “Harder Before It Gets Easier”. Being a person who likes to have the music flow over them I got so caught up in the mental sorting out of the musical influences in my head that I failed to make notes of the set list but I will say this- it was all good. A band doesn’t get the kind of recognition ( A Boston Music Award, Write ups in the New York Times, air time on NPR and tours with bands like the Avett Brothers) that DWM has in such a short time without being fabulous.
But don’t take my word for it. Check them out at David Wax Museum.com. Have a listen and become a fan yourself.