Growing up I was a huge fan of those teen drama tv shows where everyone was angsty and used vocabulary that was absolutely unbelievable. One Tree Hill was one of those shows and through all the tears and heartbreak I was exposed to one of the most unexpected talents, Michael Grubbs, aka Wakey!Wakey!
Most people simply refer to him as Grubbs, as I found myself doing when I saw Wakey!Wakey! perform at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Thursday night with his band. As he took they stage, Grubbs carried with him a huge smile, a host of new songs and a beaming personality that immediately warmed my heart.
Preceded by the unexpectedly hilarious Casey Shea, and the powerhouse rock and roll foursome, Chris Cubeta and the Liars Club, the crowd was more than ready for the ride that Wakey!Wakey! was about to take us on.
Having changed the direction of his sound on his latest release, Salvation, Grubbs announced knowingly he would fit in as many old favorites as he could while essentially playing the entirety of the new album. It would be a long night. No one complained.
As the night progressed with the band playing their well known older tunes such as “War Sweater” and “Almost Everything”, Grubbs treated us to some new songs during a impromptu solo piano concerto. One song called “I Like You” who he lovingly, and oh so adorably, dedicated to his new fiancée’. The room was silenced while watching Grubbs pour his heart out through his effortlessly beautiful voice and piano playing.
Most of his newer songs, “All It Takes Is a Little Love”, “Wake Up (Lily I Love You), and “Salvation” are embracing much more of a pop sound, which I couldn’t fully imagine with Grubbs’ voice and his past material, but somehow… it works! “All It Takes Is a Little Love” was probably my favorite of the night, with the infectious choir voices and handclaps. It also doesn’t hurt that Grubbs’ happiness rolls off of him in spades. By the end of the night, and the final song at nearly 12:30am, everyone was in great spirits, having danced, sang, and enjoyed both the new and old from Wakey!Wakey!.
Article and photos: Lesley Keller