TVD Live:
Wheeler Brothers
at Martyrs’, 7/7

By Allison Staulcup

Austin’s Wheeler Brothers made a stop in Chicago this past Saturday at Martyrs’. Their pals, also Austin natives, Wild Child and Chicago’s own Thomas Pace were in support.

As I walked in Wild Child’s set was just starting and their large seven piece band filled the room with their fast-paced folk. It immediately felt like their music could be featured in a commercial for an automobile or Apple product (and I mean that as a compliment). The crowd slowly began tapping their feet and bopping their heads to the music as their attention was captured. Murmurs of “They’re really good!” started to fill the venue as they set the mood for the evening.

Next up was Thomas Pace to promote the release of his new album, Shaking Faith. It was clear the audience were fans as they mouthed along to Pace’s traditional country sound and took to swinging their hips to the more upbeat numbers. Pace was comfortable on stage, quickly creating a rapport with the crowd and playing through his large catalog of music.

While the room kept their distance during the opening acts, they quickly overcame their shyness and crowded the stage as the Wheeler Brothers took the scene. The notes of their first song were quickly met with a sing-a-long and people partnering up to dance. The Wheeler Brothers brought high energy to the stage playing and singing with all their might as the crowd ate it up. Bassist, Tyler Wheeler, spent the set bouncing barefoot around the stage and encouraging the fans to meet his enthusiasm… which they did.

The set consisted of a healthy mix of songs from their debut record Portraits, such as “Spent Time,” “Ghost in the Valley,” “Mississippi,” and many new songs. The audience’s spirit didn’t die down with the unfamiliar tunes; they kept the party going with dancing and cheers. The band brought new life to some old songs by covering Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” and The Jungle Book’s “I Wanna Be Like You.”

The Wheeler Brothers take their country roots and add elements of folk and rock to make a unique and catchy sound that is quick to win over the crowd. They closed out the show by bringing Wild Child back on stage for an a cappella send off, but were unable to leave the stage before shouts of “Encore!” had them huddled together deciding what to treat the audience to next. The band assured Chicago this wouldn’t be the last they heard of the Wheeler Brothers, informing them that this is their last tour stop, but they’re headed to the recording studio for their sophomore album.

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