The three professional sidemen who stepped out of the shadows to form WOLF!, are back on the line with their new album, 1 (800) WOLF!. When destiny called guitarist Scott Metzger, bassist Jon Shaw and drummer Taylor Floreth to act as a backing band for an artist, they had no way of knowing they would end up forming a new band to fill the void by their prospective employer’s last minute no-show. With no plan, the trio was forced to discover themselves as a band in the heat of the moment. Between the crowd reaction to their efforts and the friendship already shared, the trio decided that maybe they were onto something.Listen to the new album below, and continue reading for the full review!The success of WOLF!’s first album, a self titled 2015 release, helped build the band a dedicated following and their follow up is certain to bring new fans into their pack. “Pork ‘n Slaw” kicks things off with a fitting encapsulation of the fun to come, showcasing jazz and rockabilly elements that will crop up in a variety of ways over the thirteen tracks total. The clean guitar tone on the tune gives a clear look at the work Metzger is doing, and it is a delight to see such skilled fret work on display so naturally.“Tomahawk Chop” runs the opposite direction, as Metzger’s guitar lines are so drenched in reverb you’ll expect your speakers to drip musical sludge. Echo effects give “You Are No Longer My Friend, My Friend” a sound that seems perfectly suited to ring out over a long and lonesome desert on some star filled night. Covering clean jazz, 50’s era garage rock and western music is a serous musical challenge that the rhythm section of Shaw and Floreth show themselves more than capable of handling.On tunes like the surf rock reminiscent “Furry Freedom” and “Whiskey Mister,” Floreth effortlessly cracks the whip and shows a deft precision that surpasses genre requirements. Such crisp percussion allows bassist Shaw to let loose his tone and the wide open mixes provide space for prominent near leads and heavy resonance. “Bohemian Grove” sees Shaw step into a shared lead with Metzger that he nails perfectly, snaking back and forth, evoking tinges of jazz and the sounds of the islands.Often trios find themselves limited in the amount of variety they can produce. Other acts have used sequencers and digital triggers, but not WOLF!. Showing a level of talent and execution that surely hearkens back to their studio work Wolf! manages to vary style and tempo in such a deft manor that each song is complete and unto itself. Another sign of the maturity and musical IQ is the brevity of the pieces themselves. A majority of the compositions presented here are less than two and a half minutes long, and to a one they leave listeners satisfied and ready for more.The brevity of the majority of songs on this disc makes the few longer tunes stand out. Album closer “All Dressed Up (Nowhere To Go)” constructs a rock solid blues foundation, with a riff built upon it as wide as the skies themselves. 1 (800) WOLF! is an impressive album from a trio of deeply talented and versatile musicians clearly enjoying the freedom they have to follow whatever musical whim strikes their fancy. Daring, varied and flawlessly executed, WOLF! raises the stakes with their latest release, and easily shatters expectations and sets the stage for what should be a long and wonderful road ahead.Be sure to catch Metzger at Brooklyn Comes Alive on October 22nd, across three venues in the heart of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Metzger will be performing with Joe Russo, Robert Walter and Andy Hess, comprising one of the many wonderful super jam sessions at this unique event. With over 50 musicians on the lineup from bands like The String Cheese Incident, Dead & Company, The Disco Biscuits, Snarky Puppy and more, don’t miss your chance to see your favorite artists let loose! More information can be found here.
Last night, Umphrey’s McGee returned to The Taft Theatre for their second of two nights in Cincinnati, OH and just the third show on their ongoing 20th anniversary tour. The show began with a pair of songs last played on New Year’s Eve, “Nothing Too Fancy” > “Remind Me”, before UM classic “Uncle Wally” made its first appearance since last summer in the three-spot. From there, the band took flight for a non-stop voyage through “Preamble” and into “Mantis”, which made its way into a “dub” version of Pink Floyd‘s “Breathe” before landing back in “Mantis” to finish set one.The second set began with a powerful “Draconian”, and kept up the momentum with a fantastic “Intentions Clear” > “Wizard Burial Ground” segment. “1000 Places To See Before You Die” came next, and saw the band welcome sax player Casey Cranford to add some extra brass texture.“Ringo” followed, and moved into improvisational space before slipping unfinished into “Steppin’ Out”. Finally, “Steppin’ Out” found its way back into “Nothing Too Fancy”, bookending the show with a callback to the song that opened it.The encore had even more surprises in store, as the band began with the live debut of “Looks“, one of the pre-released singles from their imminent new album, it’s not us, before a triumphant “Glory” victory lap sent the crowd home satisfied.Next up for the band is their highly anticipated album release party tonight in Chicago. To listen to the new album and read our review, head here. For more information on the ongoing tour, or to purchase tickets, hit the band’s website.Watch an assortment of fan-shot videos from Umphrey’s McGee’s second of two shows at Cincinnati, OH’s Taft Theatre below via YouTube user iccuspunk:“Uncle Wally” “1000 Places To Go Before I Die”“Looks”, “Glory” (Encore)SETLIST: Umphrey’s McGee | The Taft Theatre | Cincinnati, OH | 1/13/18Set 1: Nothing Too Fancy > Remind Me, Uncle Wally, Preamble > Mantis > Breathe > MantisSet 2: Draconian, Intentions Clear > Wizard Burial Ground, 1000 Places to See Before You Die, Ringo > Steppin’ Out > Nothing Too FancyEncore: Looks, Glory “dub” version with Casey Cranford on saxophone unfinished debut, originalSupport: Big SomethingPurchase audio via UMLive: 01.13.2018, Taft Theatre, Cincinnati, OH[Cover photo via Umphrey’s Facebook/TourGigs]
For many of Harvard’s midyear graduates, the idea that education takes place both inside and outside the classroom is more than a well-worn cliché — it’s lived experience. Whether they took time away from campus or achieved advanced standing to finish early, their journeys and the communities they created helped them discover their voices, take risks, and explore new opportunities.Nearly 100 graduates gathered with their families, friends, and the Harvard community to celebrate their accomplishments at Friday’s Midyear Graduates Recognition Ceremony at the Knafel Center. Speakers included Rakesh Khurana, Danoff Dean of Harvard College; Cornell Brooks, Harvard Kennedy School professor of the practice of public leadership and social justice; Philip Lovejoy, associate vice president and executive director of the Harvard Alumni Association; and Zeynep Ertugay, a graduating concentrator in social studies.In his remarks, Brooks encouraged graduates to look for role models and mentors among their families, colleagues, and peers; to love boldly; to lead bravely; and be willing, he urged, “to step out, step forth, step up, and declare what you stand for.”Angelina Ye ’20, Second Class Marshal, addresses students in the Knafel Center.Ashley LaLonde, a performing artist who concentrated in sociology with a secondary in Theater, Dance & Media, finds herself attending Commencement exactly four years from the day she was admitted to Harvard. Looking back on her unusual experience, running from tech rehearsals to all-nighters in Lamont Library and hopping on buses for performances, she said, “It feels very clear that this was the place I was supposed to be.”,A concentrator in government and sociology, Rahsaan King, who started an online tutoring business geared toward at-risk students while in College, offered this lesson: “Do what you want to do, but allow the people, the courses, the professors, and the culture to change you. If you disqualify people from being your teacher, you limit the things that you have access to learn.” Alexander Hively, who studied classical civilizations, echoed King’s sentiment. “Find what you truly love, get involved in it, and make it a priority,” he said.Eva DiIanni-Miller, a social studies concentrator, said, “I’m definitely excited to take the next step and figure out what that looks like, but I’m already feeling a little nostalgic for Harvard.” She plans to walk the Camino de Santiago, an ancient, 500-mile pilgrimage route through northern France and southern Spain. Upon her return home, she hopes to get involved in a 2020 political campaign.Graduate Elizabeth Keeley ’19 receives a warm hug from a friend at the conclusion of the ceremony at Knafel Center.Ertugay, the student speaker, discovered a passion for public service as a volunteer at Y2Y Harvard Square. She is also looking ahead, and hopes to become an educator focused on the intersection between migration and children’s rights.Ertugay took inspiration from astronomy class for her speech. The traditional graduation cycle has a strong gravitational pull, but some students may need to break away into a different orbit, she said.“The four-year orbit works for some people, and for some people it’s too long, or too short. The fact that some of us are able to question that is a really cool thing to celebrate.” The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.