West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 9 | August 01 - 07, 2007


Courtesy Put’s Record Company

The Wildbirds swoop into the L.E.S.

By Jaya Saxena

Monday is not exactly the best night to rock out. Most people are too tired from their weekend to even go out, and if they do they are most certainly not looking forward to a Tuesday morning where their ears are ringing louder than their alarm. So it must have been difficult for Wisconsin outfit The Wildbirds to blast their brand of tight but noisy Midwest rock without worrying if they were intruding on a relaxing weekday night drink. In true rock and roll form, however, they didn’t seem to care.

The Wildbirds certainly have the look of the dirty rocker down, adding their own country flair with cowboy boots and worn leather vests. And lead singer Nicholas Stuart knows how to strike a rock pose. He’s mastered the art of the affected whimper at the end of a line, the drunken stumble away from the mic, the “I love you man” kiss on the forehead to a fellow band mate, and the elusive yet effective, tight-thighed-one-foot-balance while singing (which I like to call the “I have to pee” dance). All four of them know how to whip their long hair around their faces and when to add a rocking solo to the end of a song. But though their act may seem contrived, these boys also know how to play.

There was a fair share of face-melting riffs and inarticulate screams, but the Wildbirds also know when to stick to their tight, gritty sound.

You could probably set a metronome to drummer Jon Jon Fries, who changes time signatures as flawlessly the rest of the band changes notes. His bouncy backbeat is the driving force of songs like “Shake Shake” and “421,” where The Wildbirds channel contemporaries like The Raconteurs and Wolfmother.

Sometimes the comparisons were too easy to make. Which raises the question of whether The Wildbirds have what it takes to move through the undercurrent of young garage bands to make it to the pool of big time rockers. They have the talent for it, but their sound might be too close for comfort.

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