I missed all but the last two songs from Wilder Maker this weekend at Rough Trade thanks to a defunct L train, but based on the last two: this is a band I’m making a point to see again. The deep croon of band leader, Gabriel Birnbaum, meshed with keyboardist and vocalist, Katie Von Schleicher, is a mesmerizing combo. Having just released two singles through Saddle Creek this year (home to this show’s headliner as well), I’m hoping it’ll be sooner than later, that I get to see these guys on stage again.
Next were newbies Uni Ika Ai. “Newbies” is said only in reference to the forming of this band – the players have all been making the music for years and know what they are doing. They kicked off their set with the kind of ethereal and avant-garde I expected having checked out their new full length, Keeping a Golden Bullseye in the Corner of My Mind. Singer, Maia Friedman, hypnotically began things with a vocoder and got the vibe right. After that, she dropped the vocal effect and just used the beautiful one she naturally has. Guitarist, Peter Lalish, was a particular treat to watch. Always wild, always in control. Highly recommended for a blissed out show that keeps you right in the pocket the whole time.
Before the headliners walk on, a projector begins to roll a static shot of a running waterfall with “Sam Evian” printed across in pink. A very fitting visual to the sound. Sam’s brand of dreamy folk-pop was in a constant flow through the whole show. The whole band seemed relaxed and enjoying themselves which is wonderfully infectious. Sam invited a guest-vocalist from the album to come out on “Cactus” and I wish I could find her name because her voice was spectacular in person. They closed the set with a damn fine cover of “Jealous Guy” and I was left standing and wishing I could watch it all again.
Article: Kevin W. Condon