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my cat likes pretzels, i like the wrens, and you (and everyone else) should like both

The first time I saw the Wrens, at CMJ last year, I was clearly blown away. Granted, I was watching them rock the Knitting Factory with basically no preconceived ideas about them or expectations whatsoever. I had never heard any of their songs and went solely on the basis of a friend saying "You have to see this band, you will love them" which usually only has about a 50% chance of actually working out in my favor. So I saw the Wrens, and I honestly DID fall in love with them. They had energy, they had great songs, they were kind of insane also, but in a really loveable and endearing kind of way.

So this time, as we made our way out to Maxwells to see them play a sold out show on their home turf, I had some expectations running through my head. I wanted them to rock just as hard. I didn't want that CMJ show to be a fluke. The thing about the Wrens is that they don't play shows very often at all, and they aren't playing any shows in the city on this tour (part of why we were more than willing to make the treck to Hoboken). But the other problem with this is that my memories of their show had faded quit a bit since October. I remembered that one of the singers seemed to be totally maniacally out of control and that they had been a lot of fun, but had I in some way imagined their awesomeness to really be more than it actually was? I mean.... why were music mags and critics not RAVING about this band at every possible moment if they are really as retardedly good as I had perceived them to be after ONE show? So I was doubting myself, and I wanted the Wrens to put all of those doubts to rest.

And about 1 minute into their set on Saturday they did just that. Dripping with raw emotion and what seems like a TON of pent up post-adolescent fervor, the Wrens do something at their live shows that few bands can really capture... they just make you feel everything right along with them. To experience this band live, it's really as if you had lived through the past with them .. the break ups and heartache, the glimse of fame and then never being able to truly taste it, the depressing thoughts of middle age and dead end desk jobs and the goodtimes as well... it's all out spelled out there in songs like "Happy," "Everyone Chooses Sides," and "Every Year You Wasted" and the standout rocker "Faster Gun."

Their backstory is pretty heartbreaking although sadly commonplace in the music industry, and you can sense their emotions about it all in every last song from The Meadowlands, which depicts a band that is down but certainly not out or giving up any time soon. The entire tale will be told in the forth coming documentary from Little Quill, which you can watch a (GREAT) preview of here. I know I talk a lot in this blog about up and coming bands like Louis XIV, Kaiser Chiefs, etc. etc. but honestly... shows like Saturday make me realize that the Wrens are the REAL DEAL. They overshadow everyone else and get next to no recognition for it. Hopefully that will change someday, and someday soon.


The Wrens - She Sends Kisses

The Wrens - Everyone Chooses Sides

(pictures courtesy of the awesome steve)

a night to remember

it was really hard to narrow the "listens to" response down to four bands... trust me!