Wye Oak is a Baltimore indie-rock duo formed in 2006 whose music ranges from laid-back and spare to noisy guitar freak-outs. They showcased these dynamics mid-set at the Irenic with the galloping soft/loud/soft/really loud structure of “Civilian.”
...by Wye Oak
While vocalist Jen Wasner switches between guitar and bass, her band mate Andy Stack handles drums and keyboards simultaneously, which is an impressive feat to observe and makes the band sound much larger than a duo.
Playing only two songs from earlier in their career, “I Hope You Die” from My Neighbor/My Creator and “For Prayer” from The Knot, the remainder of the 15-song set came from their 2011 breakthrough album, Civilian; its 2014 follow-up, Shriek; and the recently released Tween.
Considering the setting — the Irenic is also a church — the show ended fittingly with “Holy Holy,” and while the lyrics may not necessarily be religious, they certainly express aspects of belief and faith. The song began with a restrained but insistent Sonic Youth–inspired riff, then surged forward, pulled back, drove ahead again, and finally released into a long, exultant, noisy coda that perfectly summed up the energy and feeling of the evening’s performance.
- Concert: Wye Oak
- Date: July 17
- Venue: The Irenic
- Seats: General, standing room only