generationals

Generationals Grant WIdmer and Ted Joyner brought vintage sounds and upbeat show to Madison Wednesday night[/media-credit]

If you happened to be at the High Noon Saloon at 8 p.m. on Wednesday night, you may or may not have expected several things. Swinging guitars? Yes. Chest-thumping drums? Most definitely. Bass so sick it hums the floor? Why not? Electric tunes that you can feel in the very air around you? Maybe, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Being a first time visitor to The High Noon and a first time listener and attendant of a Generationals show, I have to count myself among those who expected none of what is listed above. And being one of the few to come so early to the famous western-themed bar, I wondered if I could have been in the wrong place.

I had heard of Generationals before, and in fact, had several friends suggest that I review them. When I entered the Saloon, the most I knew about them was that the New Orleans-based duo enjoys significant notoriety in the world of indie rock, having several of their singles featured on ads and TV shows, and receiving plenty of critical acclaim from everyone to Pitchfork Media to SXSW reviewers.

Grabbing a drink and biding my time for their arrival turned out to be a very brief experience, for when the Brooklyn-based band Devin took the stage to open the show, within minutes the bar was empty and everyone was literally bouncing on their heels to the classically rough guitar riffs.

Although the band itself is nothing less than impressive, the character of namesake Devin Therriault was definitely the jewel of the group, embodying the ideal guitar hero in every way imaginable. The emerging indie band entreated the audience to the underground single “Masochist,” a rough fabric of rip-roaring guitar and energetic vocals that contained a humorous degree of delicious passive-aggressiveness.

Though Devin left the audience sufficiently hot for Generationals, they were nothing compared to the performance of the lead band. The strange, geometric fixtures hiding in the stage background of the effervescently lit stage sprung to life as Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer took their guitars to the stage and demonstrated to the rest of us what being ‘one with the music’ looks like.

“When they Fight, They Fight” was a particular blast for me, being particular to percussion and more subtle beats, but at first I thought it odd that they would begin with the softer and less-animated song that preceded it. But looking around and noticing the rapidly growing crowd that accumulated in the bar, I got the feeling that something extraordinary was about to arise.

Progressing through increasingly exciting songs, the first climax of the band’s reception definitely came about when they played their new single, “Nobody Could Change Your Mind,” which sounded to my ears as a beautiful throwback to the hippie-era indie rock, enticing the audience to sing along to the titular phrase of the single.

At 11 p.m., one of the Generationals duo took the mic and said with skillful sarcasm, “I think we’re gonna end it here … because I know you all have to study, or some party to go to, or weed to smoke,” but to an ecstatic audience, the band found themselves playing an encore until midnight, and leaving with nothing less than a smile across everyone’s face.

Needless to say, though I cynically walked in expecting nothing more than another band to review, I am eating my words as I download the newest Generationals album, “Lucky Numbers,” and am jamming out while contemplating the delight of destroyed assumptions once again.