Chances are, if you live in Columbus, Ohio you would have several opportunities to get plugged into the local underground scene on a given night of the week, with lots of rising local and regional acts. A recent Tuesday evening was no exception, when eclectic rock groups like The Kraze, Wildmen, The Wind and the Sea and Far Away Strays took to the stage for a late show at Skully’s Music Diner.
Folk-rock fusion act Far Away Strays took to the stage after a delay in setting up, delivering a decent set of engaging tunes. The rising band can be heard on Spotify already – not a claim able to be made by every performer that night. A musician friend more seasoned in the scene than I remarked to me his appreciation and surprise at how good they were. While at current I do not find them to be super memorable, I agree that their potential is huge. They sounded best when gravitating more toward the folk side of their fusion sound, doing things like integrating cello into the music.
The Wind and the Sea continued the evening with their brand of atmospheric folk-rock fusion. The vocals definitely are an acquired taste, but carry soul. Perhaps the most soulful part of their set was during their song “Prospector” when they stepped away from the mic and instruments to lead the concert-goers in an a capella rendition of the chorus. These guys are a bit out there – but in a good way.
Fremont, Ohio’s Wildmen continued the theme of the folk inspired rock music, but brought the most energy of the three openers to the evening. Wildmen, for the uninformed, is a project brought together by members of the more established The Undeserving (whose songs have been given several national TV spots), a band who back in the day had a close friendship with the much more popular Falling Up. This performance was incredibly one of their first as Wildmen, but they have big dreams for this project – they are currently booking a tour in the western US. The highlight of this set was the banjo-accentuated “Mornin’ Light.”
Hometown favorites The Kraze closed the evening, going on only a bit before midnight! It was apparent that most were there for them, and enjoyment of their straightforward, albeit very enjoyable alternative rock was had by all. Offstage you don’t get the vibe that these guys are anything more than regular dudes – which makes the onstage transformation that much more palpable. Frontman Wes Thompson knows how to work the stage and rock his Telecaster guitar, and the rest of the guys follow suit. The guys are just about done recording a new EP, which I am excited to hear. Their current LP is good, albeit dated and essentially from a different era. But I digress – this was a solid evening of fun tunes and good company.