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The Wild Feathers and Apache Relay Heat Up Irving Plaza

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Two bands with Southern flair turned up the heat in New York City on the last stop of their tour.

The Wild Feathers and Apache Relay Heat Up Irving Plaza

The weather has been getting progressively colder over the last few weeks, and one of those days that reminded us of the impending winter was Friday, November 21. The winds started getting harsh on the way to Irving Plaza, but what happened inside helped everyone forget about what was happening outside. The Wild Feathers and Apache Relay concluded their tour with what can only be described as a hootenanny of a show that brought the warmth of the South up North for just a night.

Opening things up were The Apache Relay from Nashville, Tennessee. Supporting their self-titled sophomore album, the group emphasized a lot of the newer material. This was my third time seeing the band, and it definitely seemed like there was more polish behind the group. There were some tidier hair cuts (for some, not all, as Kellen Wenrich's long red hair reminded me) as well as an upgrade in wardrobe. The newer songs have a slicker feel than their predecessors, but heard live, some of the rough-and-tumble qualities that made me fall in love with the band come to life. 

Michael Ford Jr. is as energetic as ever up front, and his enthusiasm just pours out during every song. I'll also never grow tired of watching guitarist Mike Harris do his thing on stage with that immaculate beard, either. Singles like "Katie Queen of Tennessee" and "Good as Gold" were firm reminders that this is a band that is on the rise, and it definitely inspired me to give that new album another listen. 

I had never seen The Wild Feathers before that Friday night, and what an introduction I received. A supergroup of sorts assembled from lead four lead singers of different bands, the immense sound these guys put out really blew me away. Taylor Burns, Ricky Young, Preston Wimberly and Joel King (along with drummer Ben Dumas) combined their talents to form a band that can tear the roof off a place or get all the lighters up in the air. Taking a page out of groups like The Allman Brothers and Marshall Tucker Band, these guys serve up some deep-fried rock with a southern flair.

The biggest appeal for me wasn't even how great the group sounded, be it a fast or slow song. It was the sheer joy they all shared playing with each other. The four guitarists fronted the stage, but they would hop and dance all over, mingling, shouting and laughing the whole time. All of the vocalists had their own opportunities to shine individually, but when they all harmonized with each other, it was quite powerful. They also all knew how to cook instrumentally, and for a band that is relatively new to the scene, there was a familiarity and cohesiveness of a band that had been playing for many more years.

The real highlight came during the encore, when the guys from Apache Relay and Desert Noise out for a group performance of my karaoke go-to, "The Weight" by The Band. I have heard covers of this song before, but it seemed especially fitting coming from these all of these guys. They really embodied the jam session mentality of the song, and it was as glorious of a high note to end a tour on as I can think of.

The Apache Relay have some tour dates on the books for early 2015, and they shouldn't be missed if they come to your area. The Wild Feathers are busy working on their sophomore album. Check out photos from both sets below.

The Apache Relay at Irving Plaza

The Wild Feathers at Irving Plaza

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