Review: Headlights + At Latl + John the Savage @ Stonefly (3/11)

Headlights @ Stonefly (3/11)

Headlights @ Stonefly (3/11)

Photos by Jared Guess
Words by Erin Wolf

 The cavernous Stonefly Brewing Company was packed on an unlikely Wednesday night for the joined musical performance forces of Milwaukee’s John the Savage and At Latl with the headliners from Champaign, Illinois: Headlights. People lined up in a squished thread along the huge bar, stood attentively at the stage and filled up every chair and table in the venue.

John the Savage

John the Savage

Without announcement, John the Savage launched into a new epic, orchestral ballad; strings, trombone, piano and accordion deftly provided lively accompaniment to drummer Andy Hartzell’s intense and enthusiastic percussion and Mike Skorczs’ gruff warble, uncharacteristically barely-audible and buried. The band burned through their set while the appreciative crowd cheered them on, making it obvious of their favorites status in their home city.

At Latl

At Latl

At Latl applied the same enthusiasm to their performance and the crowd mirrored it throughout their set, swaying unconsciously as the band ran the gamut of their more funk and reggae-influenced songs to the straight-up carnivalesque slop-rock of the popular “My Devil’s Evangelical”.



Headlights fed off of the two prior bands’ energy and turned what could have been a tame pop show into a energetic display of some of their best material from Kill Them With Kindness and their latest, Some Racing, Some Stopping. Milwaukee’s own Nick Sanborn (Decibully) looked just as comfortable on the bass as he normally would, rocking a Fender Rhodes piano. Keyboardist/vocalist Erin Fein literally bounced up and down in place, doing musical calisthenics, only stopping long enough to lean towards her mic and harmonize with guitarist Tristan Wraight. The harmonies, key to Headlights’ song structure, were a bit lost at first in Wraight’s vocals being mic’d too quietly, but this was eventually corrected, and the band picked up steam, even introducing brand new material to Milwaukee. “I hope that’s okay?” Wraight asked, out of breath as he tuned his guitar. The crowd happily responded by dancing just as hard to the new songs as to the ones they obviously knew, mouthing the lyrics. Headlights’ combination of sweet vocal harmonies, bouncy keyboards and shimmery guitars made Milwaukee more than happy to go out on a ‘school night,’ and should be a positive reinforcement for the band as they set out on a huge stretch of touring through now, until the end of April.


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