Wye Oak at Turner Hall: A Review

Wye Oak played at Turner Hall Ballroom Tuesday, Aug. 2. It is a band I listened to constantly throughout college, kind of a darker indie rock duo that gained tons of traction through the song “Civilian” on its 2011 album named the same. I want to say it was used in a Walking Dead teaser. Don’t quote me on that.
Sometimes, I try to recall what other writers and critics have said about artists to trigger my memory on “genre descriptors” or something that will justify the sound. I can’t do that with Wye Oak, mainly because nothing comes to mind, but also because it is personal to me. In my brain, Wye Oak is some larger-than-life artist that every stranger on the street should know about, but I suppose that isn’t true. Half of me was expecting Turner to be filled to the brim. Instead, a modest group of true fans.
Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack performed a solid group of songs from their multiple albums, including a few from recently debuted “Tween.” Jenn and Andy were incredible on stage; kind, unassuming and appreciative. Jenn at one point thanked the audience for giving them the means to remain a band. It was pretty sweet, and it definitely took me back to those times I walked to class in the burning Arizona heat, playing “For Prayer” over and over on my iPhone as a little prayer of my own. Boy troubles.
I hope with everything in me that Wye Oak stays afloat, because it is something special. I call it “dark” over and over, mainly because the lyrics are very true to human error and suffering. “I am nothing without pretend / I know my faults / can’t live with them.” That struck a chord with me in 2012, and it does now in 2016. Don’t even get me started on those earthshaking, unexpected guitar solos. They’ll have you praying.
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Photo by: CJ Foeckler
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