Who: Big Wreck & forBrothers
What: Grace Street Tour
When: March 3, 2017
Where: The Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY
I’ve been waiting a while to catch a Big Wreck show–they don’t tour outside of Canada too often these days, so when I saw that they would be playing NYC on their Grace Street Tour, I decided to jump on the opportunity. I picked up Big Wreck’s third studio album Albatross in 2012 after hearing another musician (take a wild guess, if you know me :)) speak well of them, and it turned out to be a great find. I’ve since caught up on the rest of their catalogue, including the two albums released since then: 2014’s Ghosts and the brand-new Grace Street (iTunes / Spotify / Artist Site), released just last month. If you like big, dynamic vocals, and rock with a heavy, bluesy feel, check them out.
The music translated perfectly to the live show, with lots of extended instrumentals that the crowd loved. NYC shows always seem to be special, and this one was no exception–it was clearly a crowd with many fans happy to see a band that doesn’t come “south” frequently. The set was a good mix of new material from Grace Street, solid tracks from Ghosts and Albatross (I was happy to hear “Wolves,” it was the song off of Albatross that first caught my attention), and some throwbacks that had the crowd singing right along with frontman Ian Thornley (standouts in that department: “That Song“ early in the set, a mid-show “Under the Lighthouse,” and a pre-encore “Blown Wide Open“ that elicited a refrain of the titular lyric to call the band back onstage, as opposed to the usual crowd chants.) I hope it’s not another five years before I get a chance to catch another show–Thornley’s vocals and guitar prowess as well as the whole band’s musicianship would demand a repeat.
The opening act, forBrothers, was surprisingly mellow, but not in a bad way. The appropriately named band is made up of two pairs of brothers, and their synergy was apparent with their strong but folky, harmony-driven sound. Their mellow-but-occasionally intense approach (maybe Mumford-meets-Milo Greene?) turned out to be a good warm up for the fairly constant intensity of Big Wreck’s set. They had a good vibe, and the crowd seemed to enjoy their set. Check out their 2015 album Fool (iTunes / Spotify / Artist Site) if modern folk with an occasionally electric edge is up your alley.
Enjoy the photo sets (separated by band) below!