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WIJAM Presents: Ezra Bell
September 19, 2019 @ 9:00 pmFree
Thursday, September 19th, 2019
at Gibson Music Hall | Appleton, WI
Doors 8p | Show 9p | 21+
Free Admission | $5 Suggested Donation
• Website: https://www.ezrabellband.com/
• Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1nGqKVGfPPiVgxMdx8hYOI
• iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/ezra-bell/852885143
• Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ezrabellband/
• Fluoridated Water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1v1ilOBOZqM&t=4s
• Interview and Performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luWuFBi50h0
• Shady Pines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp4DgIQ8C_Q
• Junk Food Chimney: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjpk1mfEY8M
• Vortex Magazine, Concert Review, Portland: https://www.vrtxmag.com/media/photo/ezra-bell-and-motopony-at-mississippi- studios-on-may-26-2018/
• No Depression, Album Review; http://nodepression.com/album-review/portlands-most- impressive-ezra-bell-shares-their-unique-gifts-upcoming-release
Ezra Bell’s first full-length debut features ebullient soul twang, flowing and leaping like the music of a late 60s/early 70s recording of well-trained freaks dabbling in various genres. This Portland band sounds like they effortlessly recorded one of those forgotten-gem “cult albums”, despite it being early 2018.
After three well-received EPs and playing regularly in Portland since 2013, the playfully literate and cheerfully plaintive Benjamin Wuamett and his gaggle of quite fit players, conjure up a festive dusky folk-rock-blues-jazz-R&B-pop vibe that doesn’t smother out the melancholy. These haunted stories include key tracks “Tourists” (“This one is about realizing the game is rigged, but you still have to play; it’s the only game in town”); “Yawning at the Seance (“This one is about the stories we tell ourselves in order to feel like everything is okay”), and “Let Me Do the Talking.” About that last one: “The opening line is a rip-off of something the boxer Jack Johnson said when asked how he managed to so intrigue women. He said ‘eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts.’ I think it’s one of the great travesties (and a telling indictment of our society) of our time that a great man’s name has been usurped by some surfer singing about breakfast.” The glistening, giddy music on these tracks help to document the car-wreck gas-lit lifestyles Wuamett masterfully describes. He displays gleaming shards of a self-depreciative self-awareness but also someone busy getting lost. “The overall theme going into this?” Wuamett answers to what the album is about. “Desperation. A call to arms. A whimper. A declaration that being witty by yourself at 4 AM in a basement, is a poor way to live.” Ezra Bell features Maurice Spencer (bass), Tom Trotter (drums), Aaron Mattison (horns and arrangements), Honora Hildreth (backing vocals and percussion), and Jeremy Asay (keys and guitar) more-than-ably backing up Wuamett’s story-songs and satirical jigs with organic precision.
“By listening you can tell this self-titled album is something you need to run and see live. It shivers and shakes. A reason it may be difficult to pin down a description is that the music is more like an action then something you should just sit idly by and describe. This album is running up hills of grass at age 9. It’s the feeling of jumping in the pool without testing it with your toes. It’s those late night drunken stool-swaying sessions with a group of irreplaceable people in your life.”
“Ezra Bell is a West Coast poet of disappearing into appetites. The virtues and vices described on this self-titled release are backed by a tantalizing singalong, early 20th century jazz ensemble vibe, sounding like the musical journaling of a swing musician crawling out of rehab. Wuamett’s lyrics describe a soul dissolved, but the feeling isn’t completely unpleasant.”
“Benjamin Wuamett’s (vocals, guitar) ability to tell stories through song is intimate, riveting and inviting. There’s a sweetness in the somber lyrics that makes you want to dance and sing along with joy—and the crowd did just that!”