The Wiyos at Caffe Lena

Not only do I love music, but I’m in love with music. Rather, I’m in love with the music that four guys in particular create. I’m speaking of The Wiyos, of course! They are one of my favorite bands out there, in this big universe of ours… I love the band’s music for the obvious reasons, such as each member is a superb musician, their music is amazing, or that their live shows are so much fun, but there’s also more to it than that. Over the years that I’ve been a fan, not once have they lowered their standards. They have so much respect for themselves as musicians, and for music they create, that I have limitless admiration toward them for that. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen The Wiyos perform, too many to remember for sure, and never once have I been disappointed. Not to put them on a pedestal or anything… But hey, as long as I’m putting them on a pedestal, let me compare the band to King Midas! Every song, whether it be an original or a traditional, and every instrument turns to gold beneath The Wiyos’ very capable fingers (although in this case, I’m sure the reason why has to do with their hard work and effort, not the romantic idea of magic or sorcery). I saw The Wiyos perform at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY on Saturday, and it was a great night. Caffe Lena is a wonderful venue, the staff and volunteers are lovely, and to see any band in that intimate a setting is a treat (seriously, if you sit at one of the front tables, you’re not more than three feet away from the musicians).

The Wiyos played a bunch of new songs at the show, many of which will be on their upcoming CD, currently in production. My favorite of the new songs (if I was threatened with death and had to pick just one) is called “Promenade.” Michael and Teddy sing together on that one, bouncing the melody and words back and forth between each other, and they harmonize beautifully. Actually, even the threat of death couldn’t force me to pick a favorite new one, since there’s also “Stomp” to consider… The Wiyos are recording that song (among others) with a human beatboxer friend of theirs named Adam Matta. Another favorite is “Roll On”, which Teddy sings. Oh, and I adore “Uncork The Whisky”… Um, let’s just be glad no ones life depends on me picking a favorite new song.

The Wiyos’ new material is slightly mad (Main Entry: mad  Pronunciation: \ˈmad\  Function: adjective   1 a: completely unrestrained by reason and judgment  2 : carried away by enthusiasm or desire  3 : marked by intense and often chaotic activity). They’ve officially gone off the deep end, and I love it! The music they’re producing from their minds and hearts is amazing. Parrish joked during the show, “We’re not usually a very demanding band. Maybe we should be, we’d get further in the music business.” I might change some things about the music business, given the chance, but I wouldn’t change The Wiyos one bit.  Of course, they have changed, and have evolved into something even more wonderful because of it (I didn’t think that was possible!). They started out as a trio, before adding Teddy Weber to the band. Actually, that’s not entirely true… When they first started out, years ago, it was Michael and Parrish as a duo. They recorded a demo at Joebass’ studio in Brooklyn, which they also hired him to play bass on, and Joebass went on to became a permanent member of the band from there. The addition of Teddy has given them the musical freedom to try new things, and they’re constantly tweaking, fine tuning, and improving. As big of a fan as I already was of Teddy and his other bands bands (The Hunger Mountains Boys, The Blue Ribbon Boys), I must shamefully admit that I had my doubts when I heard The Wiyos were adding him as a full-time touring member, worried about how their sound would change. Why mess with a good thing, right? I guess in this case, the answer was, wrong. I will never question The Wiyos, or their decisions, again. It was during the first few bars, of the first song, of the first concert I saw Teddy playing with The Wiyos that my silly fears were laid to rest. That was a year and a half ago, and although I’ve seen the band a number of times since then, it was at  Saturday’s concert that I felt Teddy’s presence was wholly and completely merged into the band. The Wiyos were certainly no slouches before when it came to great music, but now, boy have they really come into their own. They keep pushing forward with their music, trying new things, breaking boundaries. And it works. Parrish can joke around all he likes, but that my friends, that is what the music world is really about, in its truest form. Who knew The Wiyos were so punk in their own way? And they couldn’t sound better. Talk to me in a year though, and I’m willing to bet I’ll have changed my mind. ‘Cause they’ll sound even better then.

Watch some videos from the show:

Rhythm

I’ll Think Of You

Promenade

Roll On

Stomp

Uncork The Whisky

Tennessee Tango

Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t (The Wiyos played this for their encore)

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