The Wiyos and Hunger Mountain Boys at Iron Horse

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m a groupie. Just can’t help it you know… I went to see The Wiyos and The Hunger Mountain Boys play a double bill at Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA on Thursday night. I wouldn’t travel an hour and a half on a weeknight for just any band, but the two of them? Heck yeah. And boy were they great. The Wiyos played the first half, and it’s always a treat to see them. As much as I love listening to their CD’s, there’s nothing like seeing their energy and antics on stage. On top of the treat of seeing them live, they also played “Number Nine” which is my favorite song off their newest album, the self titled “The Wiyos.” They don’t play that song too often live, I’ve only seen them do it twice before (and I’ve seen them in, what is it now, four states I think? Like I said, I’m a groupie).  The first time I heard them perform it live was at Golding Parc cafe in Cobleskill, NY (that was also the first time I saw Teddy Webber playing with them) and the second time was at their CD release party in Brooklyn, back in November. Of course, I had the song stuck in my head the next day at work… But that’s okay with me. Speaking of CD’s, they also just started working on a new one which is exciting news indeed! I’m already anxiously awaiting it’s release.

Aah, The Hunger Mountain Boys… I absolutely love those guys. They’re definitely in my top ten favorite bands of all time (as are The Wiyos). From the moment The Hunger Mountain Boys took the stage, they just ripped it up… They opened with two really fast, rollicking songs back to back which I liked. Kip was shredding it up on that mandolin!!! And Teddy was playing that guitar so hot, his fingers might have been on fire. Their vocals were perfectly harmonized, and they sounded really tight. Matt had a couple of real nice bass solo’s, and he sounded great as well. You could tell that all three members were enjoying themselves, and the crowd was too. My sister and I danced for all the up-tempo tunes (after we found a spot where we wouldn’t be in the waitresses way) and we had an absolute blast.

For the “finale” both bands played together. They brought their instruments off the stage, sat on the stairs leading up to the balcony, and played the old murder song “Frankie and Johnny.” Matt and Joe (the bassist’s for both bands, respectively) shared a bass. At first they took turns playing it, then Joe wouldn’t hand it over to Matt so they both played it. How, you ask? Well, Joe held the neck and played the notes with his fingers, while Matt played the strings. It was really, really cool. Everyone sang, Michael (The Wiyos lead singer/washboard/harmonica/sound effects master extraordinaire) got a sweet harmonica solo, Kip and Parrish played guitar, Teddy played steel guitar… The applause that erupted when they finished “Frankie and Johnny” was thunderous, and it lasted for a good minute or two. A great time was had by all.

The Hunger Mountain Boys and The Wiyos don’t just play old-time music, the whole story behind it is very much a part of them. They really are a piece of honest-to-goodness living history, which is a pretty cool thing by me. History class? Pshh, who needs it? We’ve got The Wiyos and The Hunger Mountain Boys. I’m doing my share of “studying,” and you should be too.

The Wiyos: Rhythm

The Wiyos: Number Nine

The Hunger Mountain Boys: Coming From The Ball

The Hunger Mountain Boys: Hiccup Remedy Blues


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