Review | Wye Oak and Callers at the Middle East Upstairs

words by: Courtney Leigh Allen


Heartbeat (the Wire Cover)
Life of Love

Brooklyn-based trio Callers mesmerized the crowd opening for Wye Oak at the Middle East Upstairs Tuesday night. If you’ve never heard of Callers, their sound is familiar, yet distinct. Sara Lucas plays guitar, but her main instrument is her voice, which weaves through each song as the tempo and rhythm rises and falls around it.

The trio – vocalist Lucas, guitarist Ryan Seaton and drummer Don Godwin – first met in New Orleans, and their sound includes blues, folk and jazz influences. In fact, it’s the otherworldliness of their sound that makes you completely forget that you’re standing a wall and a few haphazardly hung black curtains away from a busy restaurant serving up plates of hummus and falafel.

Most of Callers’ set included songs off their October release Life of Love, bringing Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner on stage for ‘Heartbeat’ and closing with the quiet ‘How You Hold Your Arms.’

Holy Holy

Wye Oak took the stage shortly after. The Baltimore-based duo, comprised of the boyish-looking Andy Stack and blonde-and-rocking Jenn Wasner, played songs off of their third release Civilian to a sold-out crowd full of friends and fans.

It seemed there was an immense amount of equipment on stage for just two people, but each song Wye Oak played built up layer after layer of sound and was topped off with Wasner’s haunting vocals. It was loud and noisy and the crowd loved it.

Their first headlining tour, Wye Oak seemed excited and relaxed playing in Boston before heading back down the East Coast on the last week of their tour. There’s been a lot of talk about Wye Oak since their third full-length release, and the praise is well deserved.

Wye Oak’s Tour with Callers continues…

04.14.2011 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom w/ Callers
04.15.2011 Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda’s
04.16.2011 Baltimore, MD 2640 Space w/ Callers
05.22.2011 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom