ZZ Ward, The Wild Feathers, & James Bay at the Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA. – October 3rd, 2013
The first time I heard ZZ Ward was when I saw her on Last Call with Carson Daly. When she came on I immediately sat up and took notice. There was just something about her- the songs, her voice, and the sheer talent that just oozed from the TV. The next morning I got on my computer and looked up her tour schedule. She was playing in Boston so I checked my schedule but was unable to attend. A few months later I found she was playing in a small club in my hometown so I cleared my schedule and went to the show. She was everything I expected and more. When I had the chance to see her show again, as well as shoot and review her in Boston, I jumped at the chance.
The first act was James Bay, a young chap from London. When he came out, the audience, which was made up primarily of women, went wild. I’m secure enough with my sexuality to say that the guy is not hard on the eyes. His music was of that singer/songwriter variety and reminded me a bit of James Morrison. He played an acoustic guitar, as well as a vintage Epiphone semi-hollow body which he proudly gave a shout out to. They say it’s better to leave your audience wanting more rather than over staying your welcome, and he did just that. His set was rather short, and as he left the stage the audience cried for more. Unfortunately it wasn’t in the cards that evening. This is James’s first tour in the States, and from what I saw that night, I think there are big things in his future. The photos for James set can be found here.
The second act was The Wild Feathers. I had never heard of these guys, but I can’t say the same for others in attendance. Many of the audience members sang along with their songs, and I overheard some of them stating that they came there for them. The Wild Feathers reminded me of an edgier version of Mumford and Sons or Dawes. They had nice vocal harmonies and a good full sound. The drummer, Ben Dumas, had a bit of a Keith Moon essence about him. He was very lively and fun to watch and did not overshadow the other members as they all did their job of giving the audience the energy and stage presence to match their music. Their set was solid and even included guitarist, Preston Wimberly, sitting down and playing some sweet licks on a pedal steel guitar. A highlight for me was when they invited James Bay onstage with them and covered “The Weight,” written by The Band. Photos can be found here.
If you haven’t heard ZZ Ward yet then you must be living in a cave. She is a breaking star. Just recently two or three television shows have used her songs in their advertisements, and she has also been getting some good radio support. ZZ (Zsuzsanna Eva) Ward’s music is an eclectic mix of blues, hip-hop and R&B. Her talent goes beyond her years, and if I were to compare her sheer talent to another prominent artist out there today, I would say Pink. She has a voice that transcends genres and is multi-talented on instruments; playing guitar, keyboards and even banging on a floor tom. Her backing band is incredibly talented and really holds down the groove.
The show was incredible all around with three great bands that made my 4-hour round trip drive worth the time invested. I think I would make the same trip again for any one of them on their own.