Delirious from jet lag after arriving at Bristol’s Thekla on Friday, January 27th, and revelling the popularity of their self titled 2011 album (QRO review), Wild Flag are more than another twee all girl band. They ooze coolness and when they rock, they compete with the best, especially when it comes to Mary Timony and the excellent Carrie Brownstein, surely one of the most accomplished female guitarists. Period. If Wild Flag are to reach rock greatness, then in years to come, video footage of the Portland guitarist will surely have her alongside Pete Townshend, Keith Richards and Jimmy Paige, such is her charismatic presence all evening.
Carrie divvied up the vocal spotlight with Timony, who equally had a wail of time slamming guitar into the floor and crawling around her effects pedals. Wild Flag are fully-charged, with riot grrrl attitude from their heroines who have come before in Hole (QRO album review), The Breeders (QRO live review), and the punk attitude of L7, but still remaining pleasant to the pretty much packed small Bristol venue.
The audience were not only diverse in age, but also in variety of music taste, judging by appearance. Guess that’s the beauty of Wild Flag. Sometimes the music is very raw and stripped down, but at the same time, they can roll out melodies that would appeal to fans of Veronica Falls (QRO album review) and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (QRO live review).
Janet Weiss was faultless throughout the evening, ensuring the wall of sound maintained its clarity and with the improvisation of Brownstein and Timony, she was forced to remain focused on the unexpected throughout the hour long set, none more so than during "Black Tiles".
If Wild Flag have members to rival Townshend and co, then keyboardist Rebecca Cole, is the Ray Manzarek of the band, with her Hammond organ ‘60s style really adding texture, mixed regularly with her harmonies alongside the Patti Smith (QRO photos) gruffness of Brownstein.
Their most well known song, "Romance", of course received the biggest response, and rightly so, as an indie classic that is no doubt being played to death all over the student bars and indie clubs all over the globe.
Wild Flag’s playful side came out as the band announced the final number, prior to the curfew and the pending club waiting to carry on the evening. Groans of disappointment from the audience were met with – "Don’t you wanna dance?" from a cheeky Brownstein. The foursome were soon blistering into their own version of Bobby Freeman’s "Do You Wanna Dance".
"Boom" indeed and in between your eyes, a group with something to say & kicking on through to a venue near you. The second coming of Grrl Power!