Tiffany Frandsen | News Editor | @tiffany_mf
Watching bands play at Kilby Court is sort of like watching a friend’s band play in their garage; it’s a small, intimate venue. Desert Noises, a band from Provo, opened the Apache Relay and Wild Feather concert at Kilby on October 21.
They have been touring – seemingly without a break – across the US for the last couple years, and that can be heard in their sound. Their newest album, 27 Ways, sounds like the soundtrack to riding a horse across the Salt Flats. The bass pushes the momentum while the guitar and vocals take more time.
Even though The Apache Relay, an indie folk band from Tennessee, is not an inherently country band, the region’s influence is still there. Coming from Nashville, people tend to assume they are going to be more of a country band than they are, said Mike Harris, the band’s lead guitarist.
There certainly is some country influence, more so in their first album, American Nomad, than in their recent self-titled album, which was recorded in Los Angeles.
They’re a versatile group; yes, they’re from Nashville, but don’t expect twang. Get that idea out of your sweet melon right now and replace it with six outlaws that dropped their pistols and whips for guitars, keyboards and a drum set. At the very most country end of the spectrum, “State Trooper” they sound like train-robbing hoodlums. At the other end, “Can’t Wake Up,” they’re sweet indie-rockers. The song revolves around a catchy piano hook and “Ooh-oohs,” which no self-respecting outlaw would be caught dead singing.
Their set included a cover of Johnathan Rice’s “Further North,” and tracks from the band’s first incarnation, Michael Ford Jr. and the Apache Relay (Michael Ford still sings with the band).
Listening to The Wild Feathers makes you feel like you’re in trouble and having the time of your life – while you’re speeding through the backwoods of Tennessee in a very old truck.
They are a southern rockabilly group, and aptly named. They sound like country boys that grew up listening to their dad’s rock music in Ford trucks. At times, it sounds like lead singer Ricky Young is a country singer/songwriter playing with a rock band, progressive rock-esque guitar solos and all, and harmonizing with four other rock singers.
Tracks range from fast and hectic, like a brawl, to soulful, open-air country. They played songs from their first, self-titled album, as well as a country cover of Tom Petty’s “Listen to Her Heart.”
They played a couple new tracks, including one that they had never played live before. It’s more sensitive and sparse (maybe because it is still being tinkered with) – barely any drums or bass until halfway through, and only one of the three guitarists played while five of them harmonized vocally.
There is clearly loyalty between the hard-core fans in the crowd – Young stopped singing at one point in a song (brave to do at Kilby, a tiny venue that doesn’t fit more than about 75 people), and the fans carried it. Young went into the audience and played around with his fans – took selfies, and let one fan play with his hat. The adoration was mutual.
Don’t know where to start with The Apache Relay?
My personal favorite: Ruby
In fact, if Kopecky Family Band makes you snap along, listen to “Ruby.”
If the Civil Wars brings out your quiet troublemaker, listen to “State Trooper.”
If you like Mumford & Sons, listen to “Growing Pains.”
If you like Fleet Foxes, listen to “Dose.”
If Edward Sharpe & the Rubber Band is what you sing to your sweetheart, listen to “Katie Queen of Tennessee.”
If you like Band of Horses, try “Terrible Feeling.”
Tiffany is the Deputy Managing Editor for Spring 2015. Follow her on twitter @tiffany_mf