Ever since Lightning 100 started tweeting out free tickets in exchange for hash tag pickup lines, we knew The Wild Feathers secret show was going to be a fun one. What we didn’t know was their upcoming album, Lonely Is a Lifetime, harnesses even more sonic cold-cockage then their 2013 debut.
Starting off on a tame note, at around 7:20 p.m., L100’s Ana Lee addressed an at capacity BEAST with a few thank yous and some nice words on the boys’ recent trip to the live studio. Then a screaming crowd welcomed WF to the stage, where they launched into a smiling version of “Overnight,” the first single released off the new album. It was a pop rocking start to the dynamic display of their new stuff — Lifetime shows a more emotional (and sometimes darker) side to WF than what we got from the easygoing, sing-along refrains on The Wild Feathers.
Next up was “Sleepers,” a shoe-gazy anthem to self-realization and the occasional shame that comes with growing away from someone. It was here we got to see some dual shredding from guitarist Taylor Burns and newly initiated Wild Feather, guitarist Daniel Donato.
Then came the second single, and the third track on Lifetime, “Goodbye Song” which featured a three-minute bluesy jam at the end during which Burns and Donato again traded gut-wrenching chunky solos.
Finally, a word from Burns: “This is is our first show in a long time on our home turf,” he said, to roaring applause. “And we’re glad to do it here.”
While our heads were filling with tides of massage parlors and calm, Eastern oases from the incense burning on Ricky Young’s amp, things were getting a little more angst-y onstage as the boys ripped through their third single “Don’t Ask Me To Change,” a graphic song about accepting who you are, with all the blame included.
The set when on in this ordinal sequence as WF swept through every track of the new record, from the frustrated lyrics and carefree organ sways of “Happy Again,” to the pop punk simplicity of “Leave Your Light On,” to the echoed a cappella intro to “Help Me Out.”
As if our hearts weren’t already heavy enough, Burns gets personal about WF’s life on the road, and perhaps about the inspiration behind the emotional diversity of Lonely Is a Lifetime:
“It’s a tough fucking world being a musician, and we can’t thank you enough for having us out here,” before rocketing into the title track — written in the hotel room where Gram Parsons died.
The set captured elements of every honorable type of modern rock, from punk to roots-rock, all the while preserving their signature revamping of ’80s rock tone established by The Wild Feathers.
They closed the first set with the last three songs from Lifetime: the optimistic ballad to returning home “On My Way,” the spacey classic rock-esque “Into The Sun,” and finally, the slow, delicate, and perhaps happiest song on the album “Hallelujah,” which features soft filtered vocals and a simple mesmerizing drum pattern.
Afterward, the packed BEAST unsurprisingly demanded an encore — we just had to have those classic WF crowd pleasers! So, the quintet sauntered back onstage and kicked off one their original originals, “Hard Wind.” Then the barnyard breakdown “Backwoods Company” (fans might know this one best for WF’s infamous SXSW 2014 performance featuring harmonica legend Mickey Raphael). The last three tunes of the night were ones likely guilty of withering away L100’s turntable needle the last three weeks: “Left My Woman,” “The Ceiling,” and “Hard Times.”
The boys said their thank yous and goodnights, and receded backstage to much applause from a still at-capacity venue. This marked the end of one of our best nights at BEAST in a while, but not before we got in a quick word backstage with new guitarist Daniel Donato.
“I’ve never done a long tour before I met these guys,” he said. “I’m looking forward to learning how to go over there to Europe and just survive. It’s a whole other discipline. I see bands lose their shit when they hit the road, but we’re determined to remember what we’re there to do. We’re there to play music! We’re there to show the world what we can do.”
Based off their first Nashville performance of 2016, they have plenty to show