Some things are pretty fun (for example, trampolines, high fives and not being around Mel Gibson) and some things are so much fun that your brain explodes into a rainbow and soars over a mountain made of gum drops directly into the sun. The show I attended at Scripp’s the Motely pushed dangerously close to brain exploding.
Ryan Wieghard and the Abstract Truth opened the show. An eclectic menagerie of musicians led by multi-instrumentalist and glasses-wearer Ryan Wieghard, the Abstract Truth kicked off the evening with a set of songs that don’t fall nicely into any genre. In fact, I feel inadequate attempting to describe their music. Drawing elements of jazz, world, and rock among other things, the band kept the crowd swaying and stomping throughout their set. Wieghard handled vocal duties, occasionally sharing with Aerienne Russell (aka Kitchen Hips), and played a wide range of instruments including guitar, banjo, piano and keyboard. As if this wasn’t enough, Wieghard was joined by a rotating group of musicians that contained a small horn section (William Mullaney and Kate Campbell Strauss on sax, Samuel Lewis on trombone, and Michael Stock-Matthews on trumpet), Nelson Bean on upright bass, Riz Orkestra on slide guitar, Jake Falby on violin, and Mitchell Gerrard, from Nora and the Brights, on drums. Musicians hopped on and off stage between songs as needed. Wieghard has a charming stage presence, inviting the crowd on stage and leading everyone in several sing-a-longs, at one point getting the entire crowd to sing along to a tune about letting Jesus Christ into your heart.
After the Abstract Truth, Nora and the Brights took the stage. The foursome, composed of Evan Hemsley and Mitchell Gerrard on guitars and vocals, Keith McHugh on bass and, finally, the eponymous Nora Bright on drums, blew threw a set of garage punk rock. Within the course of their set, the band got every member of the packed room dancing; a mosh pit started in front of the stage and was kept going for the whole set. The band played a combination of original songs and the occasional cover (“Twist and Shout”) and their ten-song set was packed with catchy and raw bursts of rock and roll, every member playing their instrument competently and fiercely. They finished their last song, “Rugburn,” and were immediately called back by a sweaty, blissful crowd. The band played a two-song encore. Starting with a cover of Ty Segall’s “I Wear Black” and closing with another original, “Twist It.” After the show, proof of the intensity of this band, my face was smeared with sweaty face paint and my shirt was soaked through. Truly, it was one of the most fun shows I’ve been to in a long while. Thank you, Ryan Wieghard and the Abstract Truth. Thank you, Nora and the Brights. Truly, a pair of great 5C bands that you should all definitely keep looking out for and supporting.
Nora and the Brights plan to record a demo in December.
You can find Nora and the Brights on Facebook and Ryan Wieghard, always dancing, at most 5C live music events.
Ryan Wieghard and the Abstract Truth
Working a Job (Wieghard, Bean)
This Body (Russell, Falby, Orkestra)
One Note Grunt (Wieghard, Gerrard)
Elohim (Wieghard, Russell)
Lemon Pickle (Wieghard, Lewis, Stock-Matthews, Mullaney, Campbell Strauss) Beautiful Floor (Wieghard, Russell)
2012 Apocalypse Song (Wieghard, Falby, Russell, Bean, Orkestra)
Yes (Wieghard, Lewis, Mullaney, Stock-Matthews)
Nora and the Brights
Rip This Joint
Twist & Shout
I Wear Black
Reviewed by Joseph Ocon
Photos by Suzanne Calkins