Beer and Pavement

Wild Flag at Record Bar

Posted in Live by SM on October 7, 2011

I tend to repeat myself, sometimes within the same blog post.

I tend to repeat myself, sometimes within the same blog post. And as you all well know, I’ve been waving the Wild Flag…er…flag the entire month of September. Their album is easily one of my top-3 of the year and I’ve been looking forward to Wednesday night’s show for weeks. In fact, I think this might make at least one Wild Flag mention for three of this week’s four posts. I am fully on that bandwagon and won’t be getting off any time soon.

So, Wednesday’s show was sort of a big deal for me. I was driving two hours to see a forgettable opener, 40-45 minutes of pure glory, and two more hours to drive home and hope I don’t fall asleep at the wheel. I arrived early and waited patiently outside. Carrie Wade joined me, ready to take some photos. I promptly purchased a Ranger and a t-shirt printed by Janet Weiss (in her kitchen, I presume). And I waited.

Yellow Fever was the forgettable opener. The Austin duo featured drum, a box full of pre-recorded keyboards, a little guitar, and some jazzy/retro singing. Carrie described the frontwoman as “Kate Blanchett playing Bob Dylan” and I can’t say that I disagreed. They might have been good, but I didn’t give them a chance as I was here to see Wild Flag. It’s not Yellow Fever’s fault they had to open for Wild Flag, but that still didn’t mean I had to like them.

Throughout this waiting time, I had flashbacks of the few times I saw Sleater-Kinney as Carrie Brownstein and Weiss hung out at the merch booth. I’ve purchased a Quasi t-shirt from Weiss once. Sleater-Kinney always used to hang out at and around the merch table, at least in my experience. Wednesday was no different as fan-boys (or men my age) gathered around and chatted up the former S-K members. The atmosphere was gaining energy as Mary Timony and Rebecca Cole joined their band mates, ready to go on.

And this is what I was waiting for. I guess.

First, let me tell you that this band is loaded with talent and a big sound that’s unmatched. They indeed translate live the way their debut album would suggest. Plus, you have some pretty great musicians from some pretty great bands. Few bands have one strong personality out front. With Timony and Brownstein, Wild Flag has two, at least. Plus, Weiss on the skins and Cole covering the low end with her organ, the band is well-rounded, solid throughout.

So, with all of that, the show was good and worth the four-hour round trip. The songs are great. There was a good energy and they picked fun covers (Patti Smith, Tom Petty).

That said, it is easy to see that this is still a group that is young in band terms. They were off throughout the night, missing marks and notes. Often, Timony and Brownstein could be seen laughing it off. And to their credit, they were always able to pick up the slack. These are veteran rockers who have played in some volatile spots.

However, what seemed to be nagging the band all night was a case of road-weariness. I sort of wonder if Brownstein’s busy schedule doing everything but playing in a band the last few years is taking its toll during this long tour. Of course, the entire band seemed tired and a bit sloppy throughout.

Still, Wild Flag left everything on the stage. Despite their fatigue and relative newness, they played valiantly, usually overcoming these obstacles through shear will and effort. It was a gutsy show even if it was a bit imperfect.

I hope Wild Flag gets some rest when this tour is over. They certainly deserve it. I know they earned their money Wednesday and could use a day or two off. Hopefully, some R&R will find them ready to record again as well as return to Missouri.

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3 Responses

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  1. carrie the destroyer said, on October 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    you didn’t even mention that it was Carrie Brownstein’s first time in KC!

    I hope she knows what she’s missing out on now…nothing at all.

    Yellow Fever really wasn’t all that bad. Their set just went on too long for an opener, it would not have suffered from losing 3 or 4 songs.

  2. […] a new band: Wild Flag. I have expressed my admiration for Wild Flag on many occasions – both live and recorded. On record and video performances leaked on the daily leading up to their s/t release, […]

  3. Reviewing 2014: Music | Beer and Pavement said, on December 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    […] joined Wild Flag, a one-off, super group who released one of the best records of 2011 and put on ridiculously great live shows. This record comes at you from the word go and it never lets up until you’re stunned to find […]


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