Last night I was able to catch the Death & Taxes Tour (sponsored by Death + Taxes Magazine) here in Minneapolis. Headlining was Jesse Malin, whom I’ve known and loved for years, with support provided by LA band Acute and a newly reformed and re-invented Wisconsin band, the Wildbirds.
The first set was provided by Acute, who have recently released their disc Arms Around A Stranger. Get your hands on a copy, I enjoy the album quite a bit. Although Minnesotans are intrinsically pleasant and agreeable people by nature, the reasonably sized crowd seemed to genuinely enjoy the the unassuming mien and non-complacent songs the band had to offer. I’d venture to say that we appreciated the band even more as a result of the spectacle that took place on stage following them, but I’d be discounting the crowd’s immediate fondness for them.
I’ve seen the Wildbirds perform before, albeit under far different circumstances, and was expecting some semblance of enjoyment as it related to those past experiences. In the past year or so, the Wildbirds have undergone not only a name change, but a complete stylistic change as well. Although I love and enjoy the band’s most recent EP, their performance left a bit to be desired. Namely, the antics of vocalist Nick Stuart had most of the crowd reeling with distaste. It’s no secret that a mildly inebriated frontman is a bit charming and generally makes for a more engaging performance, but being completely tanked is not only tasteless, but absolutely senseless as well. I’ll say it again, I do thoroughly enjoy this band, and would likely venture out to see them play again. I just hope the outcome is a bit different. The band is gearing up to release their debut full length (as the Wildbirds) next month.