LIVE @ THE PHOENIX
By: Fridae Mattas
When I found out Los Angeles band the Wallflowers were coming to Toronto, I had to check them out! Very young when they first emerged onto the music scene yet their music has always been familiar to my ears. They had success in the mid nineties with their sophomore album “Bringing Down The House”, it’s a record filled with hit songs. Those tunes that catapulted them into the spotlight from that record are “6th Avenue Heartache”, “The Difference”, “Three Marlenas” and probably the most popular song of their career “One Headlight”.
I was expecting a full house that was not the case, it was a nice sized crowd but not as envisioned. No pit equaled shooting from the audience, which is always a challenge because they are in the way just as I am in theirs. I couldn’t decide which lens to use so during the second tune I switched it to the 70-200 and before the third song I switched back to my regular 18-55. I was changing them up because I wanted a group shot which was so hard to capture from where I was in the crowd. At one point I thought of wandering out of the crowd but they already looked pissed off. Stayed where I was until after the three media tunes, the band finally hit the stage about twenty or so minutes late. The crowd was obviously tired of waiting and I really don’t blame them, the band prior was atrocious from what I could hear waiting for call time.
Once the Wallflowers hit the stage, the fans finally showed some enthusiasm for the band but it was still pretty dull. They played a few new songs off of their latest record “Glad All Over” the bands sixth studio album. They Jammed to tracks like “Reboot The Mission”, “Misfits And Lovers” plus the current single “Love Is A Country”. When they rocked those tunes they were fantastic to my ears but not mainstream enough to get them back to the level of success they were at in the 90’s. Most people only know frontman Jakob Dylan because of his legendary father Bob Dylan who is in Toronto very soon to play the Air Canada Centre. Most people use their famous parents to launch their careers but not Jakob, he wanted to make music on his own terms. The Wallflowers’ sound is much different than any of Bob Dylan’s music, he leans more on the classic rock side and The Wallflowers have this laid back bluesy rock vibe.
Of course they played the hit songs that the fans were waiting to hear but this rendition of “One Headlight” was clearly not their best. It’s obvious Dylan is sick of singing the song because he rushed through it pretty fast, meanwhile they played an almost ten minute version of “6th Avenue Heartache”. The audience was depressing, most performers feed off the crowds energy and all this crowd was doing was putting everyone to sleep. A few people were rocking out having a fantastic time and then there were the drones. Half of the audience was expressionless, even during “The Three Marlenas” which is one of their big hits.
The band is: Jakob Dylan – Vocals/Guitar, Rami Jaffee – Keys/Vocals, Greg Richling – Bass, Stuart Mathis – Guitar and Drummer Jack Irons. The band had good timing, Jaffee on the keys was the most energetic and hardest to shoot. He was rocking out to the fullest, undeniably loving the tunes he was playing. Dylan was chill, his vocals are unique and he has a rich tone in his voice and managed to stay pitch perfect for majority of the set. When he sang a few of the newer tracks I noticed that the vocals showcased more versatility and he seemed to enjoy singing them. You can find photos of the set in the gallery below and a few more here.
I do wish that Dylan, Richling and Mathis utilized all that extra space on the stage to entertain the audience, don’t be afraid to let go. One of my favorite parts was when they had a female violinist rocking out with them for a few tracks. If you like The Wallflowers go see them, I believe they are still on tour! And if you don’t know who they are, it’s time to discover a new old band. www.THEWALLFLOWERS.com