REVIEW: WILSON AT HOUSE OF BLUES IN CHICAGO

12-4-16wilson-15Wilson have been traveling across the U.S. as direct support on Steel Panther’s winter tour and based on audience reaction to their performance at House of Blues in Chicago, they are bringing a few more people into the Wilson fold. Their 40-minute set mostly focused on songs from their last album, Right To Rise. However, for the fans in attendance already familiar with their catalog, Wilson played two new songs, yet to be released.

As the curtain opened, Wilson began their set with a balls to the wall new song called Masters of Ceremony. Immediately lead singer Chad Nicefield and the other members of Wilson had the attention of the crowd. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but the way “Masters” was sung, was strangely familiar to Metallica’s Master of Puppets. Which is not a knock on the Wilson song, but hopefully a well planned nod to a great song.

This lead into the first of many songs from Right to Rise, Give ‘Em Hell, which had a chorus that did everything it was supposed to. Warm up the crowd. The energy from guitarists Jason Spencer and Kyle Landry along with bassist James Lascu set the tone for the night. They played and sang backing vocals with an intensity that got the crowd to react whether they knew they were or not.

They took it back to their previous album, Full Blast F—kery, with set list staple College Gangbang. One might also conclude, a title not too far off of those by Steel Panther. They continued with three more from Right To Rise. Windows Down, which refers to their hometown, Detroit, MI, and the aggressive sounding All My Friends. Nicefield yelled, “Cause all my friends are dead. You’re all dead!” with a demeanor that commanded attention.

Nicefield prefaced The Flood by telling the crowd they were going to sing a song about sex, of which is his telling of sleeping with a preacher’s daughter. It’s definitely more mellow compared to their other songs, but musically it starts off with a stomping pattern that seeps into your head and leaves a lasting impression. When combined with Nicefield’s throaty vocal, band backing vocals and a groove held steady by drummer Matt Puhy, you easily have a song that will become a fan favorite. “You can lead me to water but you can’t save me.”

Wilson recently released a two-song cover option on iTunes. Sleep Now In the Fire, a Rage Against the Machine cover that was also part of the Metal Hammer 30th anniversary issue covers CD, and their long time cover of Nazareth’s Hair of the Dog. Both had their own Wilson spin on it and were well received as each song is a classic in its own right.

As Nicefield continued his energetic roaming of the stage, all while interacting with the crowd, Wilson started to wrap up their set with a second new song, How Do You Sleep At Night. The chugging guitar and bass runs seemed to be well received. This was followed by title track Right To Rise, with its adrenaline fueled lyrics that make you want to jump around, head bang or pump your first in the air.

The night ended with Susan Jane, an older song with some history. The intensity of the music and their playing made a bold statement on Wilson as a band. They came to kick ass and succeeded. True to form, during the song, Nicefield briefly left the stage and returned wearing a marching band bass drum over his shoulders. He stomped back out on stage, while beating either side in time. Eventually he took off the drum, laid it drum skin side down and stood on it, all while continuing to beat the top side as the band played on. While still standing on the drum, he continued singing. After he sang the line, “Don’t look into my eyes,” he crossed his hands at his wrists and with both middle fingers extended, held them above his head. It was a powerful visual.

Wilson don’t claim to be anything other than a hard working band hell bound on sharing their music with anyone and everyone willing to listen. Their songs make an impact on the listener and have enough hook that will keep you not only interested, but coming back for more.

View the entire Wilson photo gallery here.

Read the review and see photos from Steel Panther’s set here.

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