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Family Ties: Wyatt at Bowery Electric [6/22/12]
If Janis Joplin had made it into the Rolling Stones’ rock n’ roll circus, she might have sounded something like Maddy Wyatt. A singer/songwriter no stranger to Manhattan’s folk circuit, the Brooklyner has since formed her sound around a quartet, Wyatt, that includes her two brothers (guitar: Paul Wyatt, drums: Alex Wyatt) alongside two brothers from another mother (keys: Dana Haynes, bass: Zach Lane).
Solo, Wyatt is something of a latter day Carole King with Patti Smith fantasies. With band in tow, her heart-on-sleeve spirit channels something else entirely. While her songs come across with as much poetic fever and urgency as otherwise, the group emboldens her voice with powerful arrangements backed by constantly shifting settings and dizzying arrangements.
On display Friday night at Bowery Electric, the band churned through several tracks from their latest EP, throwing Wyatt’s voice across myriad universes and cross-genre hybrids. From “Trouble’s” jazzy flairs, where drummer Alex used his brushes as rhythmic firework, to the toe-tapping “Leonah,” a track highlighting guitarist Paul Wyatt’s cohesive ear for vocal harmonies. Perhaps it’s the brother/sister relationship speaking, but the pair were able to achieve startling unity throughout the tune. It was sometimes difficult to know where each singer ended and the other began. Then again, Wyatt’s clam digging bell bottoms might have been a good clue.
The group began an eventful night that later included Aabaraki, who came on board afterwards to electrify the night with their patented funk/R&B fever. Headlining the evening was the haunting The Bright Silence, supporting the release of their self-titled LP.
Maddy is taking the summer to extend her solo repertoire westward to LA, but will return to tour again with Wyatt this fall. In the meantime, be sure and check out the band’s debut EP, produced by local legend Danny Molad (Lucius), and video for single “Leonah.”
-Writeup and photos by Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets)