It’s been a while since The Wallflowers have played in New York, but the band looked right at home Tuesday night at The Bowery Ballroom.
It was a night of new music, with the band testing out songs from their upcoming album, Glad All Over, due out October 2. From the Tom Petty inspired “Have Mercy on Him Now” to The Clash-ified “Reboot the Mission,” the first single off their 6th album, the band showed off their new style. One that takes influence from what the guys used to listen to when they first started the band way back in 1989.
But the five guys–Jakob Dylan, Rami Jaffee, Greg Richling, Stuart Mathis and new drummer Jack Irons (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam)–weren’t afraid to delve into their back catalogue, pulling out classics from Bringing Down the Horse like “Three Marlenas” and “6th Avenue Heartache,” which Dylan admitted was inspired by the Big Apple. For “One Headlight,” Dylan even ordered for an impromptu organ solo from keyboardist Rami Jaffee, the standout of the night, who performed like a more agile Jerry Lee Lewis. Even Dylan was impressed by his bandmate, admitting he kept asking him to solo because he just loved watching him play.
The intimate show allowed the band to interact with their fans, most of which looked like they were in grammar school when the band was in its heyday, who have been waiting patiently for the band’s return since they went on hiatus in 2007. Dylan even offered to take a photo with a fan in the front row to mark the occasion, crouching down so she could be in the shot right alongside him.
In between songs, the usually shy frontman talked about the band’s busy week from playing for a large crowd at the Firefly Festival in Delaware to throwing the first pitch at a baseball game down in D.C. He even poked fun at his athletic ability, “Someone in the band said the pitch was a little low,” he said. “I think some other people would call it a strike.” Though he admitted he didn’t actually stand on the mound for the throw, he didn’t think this was a reason to knock it. “It’s a big deal to throw the first pitch!”
The guys ended the night with one of their personal favorites, Elvis Costello’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding.” Another one they probably listened to when they were just kids.
–Shannon Carlin, CBS Local