Toronto quartet Wild Rivers returned to Rochester after their set this summer opening for Donna the Buffalo at the outdoor party, Band on the Bricks. Now it was winter, and the eternally gray skies were falling in the form of cold rain. The venue was cozy and warmly lit. Good Luck and the crowd was the highly attentive audience who frequent Honest Folk’s productions. Dancing feet were replaced by listening ears and Wild Rivers’ brand of poppy folk would hold strong across that divide.
They opened with their first written song, “Wandering Child,” a song which opened quietly before exploding with a full folk sound. Later, they introduced “Moving Target,” which is still two-weeks out from officially being released. Guitarist Khalid Yassein switched to keys and the band went fully electric, becoming more moody and ethereal. The set closed with a stunning, near-acapella, front-of-stage performance of “Howling.” Wild Rivers performed songs oldest to newest, electric to completely un-mic’d acoustic and the rest of the set was a healthy blend of everything in between.
Yassein and bassist Devan Glover traded lead vocals song to song and verse to verse. In the moments when their criss-crossing met with two-part harmonies, musical sparks ignited. Lead guitarist Andrew Oliver added in tastefully restrained yet intricate leads and also took over on bass for a couple tunes. Drummer Julien Laferrière kept everything humming along, from the slowest slow to rocking highs, matching the mood perfectly throughout.
Local singer-songwriter Cammy Enaharo opened the show with a short set. In the Swiss-Army-Knife of the Rochester music scene Enaharo has been a go-to vocalist for bands of every ilk. But tonight, it was just her and a baritone ukelele. Her rich and smooth voice was more than capable of carrying the day. Put them in front of her honest and personal songs and 30 minutes just had us hungry for more. Originals like “Neighbors,” “Home,” and “Mermaids” matched wits with her emotional cover of Desiree’s “You Gotta Be.”
If you like to see live music, but are not a fan of standing around in a crowded bar waiting around until late at night for the bands to finally take the stage, give Honest Folk a try. They start promptly around 7pm and don’t ever go past 10pm, so even on a weeknight you’ll be home at a reasonable hour. The shows are seated, the decibel level doesn’t require earplugs and most importantly the music is top notch. Their next show is March 12, back at Good Luck, featuring Dead Horses and Honeysuckle. Tickets are on sale now at early bird pricing.