A sold-out Brooklyn Steel welcomed Wednesday and Hotline TNT with widespread enthusiasm that made for a killer show bubbling with righteous energy.
Exploding on the scene last year with their swelling album Cartwheel, Hotline TNT have been crucial in the recent shoegaze resurgence and their live show only enhances the experience. Dropping into the opening song of their set one member at a time, the five-piece slowly built up a massive wall of sound that swirled around the stage before erupting in a full-blown rush of epic guitars and crushing drums. Thick riffs gave a whirling feel to each of their songs, taking elements of Madchester-style grooves with the mass of a dream-pop chorus to conjure up a sound that blew down the doors, as plumes of audio bliss rang out over the receptive crowd. After a great set from the first act of the night, Lowertown, the venue was packed for the second band of the night, a site rarely seen, but Hotline made it clear as to why people made it a point to get to the show to catch their act. Slamming on their effects pedals to amass more and more reverb, the band sculpted their tracks with volcanic blasts of shredded guitars that gave their set textured layers which washed over the crowd with extreme power. Following stunning renditions of "Protocol" and "I Thought You'd Change," both of which amplified the band's already massive sound and still empowered the crowd to bob along with pure joy, the group invited Wednesday's MJ Lenderman to the stage, increasing their guitar output to four as they jammed through a cover of Smashing Pumpkin's "Quiet," a tune that turned out to be anything but as Lenderman's extra oomph bolstered the band's already towering sound. Doing everything they could to rev up the crowd, the band's inclusion of hardcore melodies help bring the energy to a fever-pitch, perfectly setting the stage for what was to follow.
Riding high on last year's epic album Rat Saw God, Wednesday played to their biggest NYC crowd yet as they took the headlining spot on this sensational bill and drove home their hits with unsurprising purpose. Shaking off their nerves throughout the night, the band eased into the set with their metallic guitar tones clanging in over a more pristine lap steel that all followed Karly Hartzman's blood-curdling scream, a sound that you can feel in the pit of your stomach and calls you forth to rage along with the band's unsuspecting primal force. Now with his primary band, Lenderman once again laid into his howling guitar licks, all of them screeching with desire and a cathartic sense of urgency, one that calls you into the moment and shakes you to your core. "Hot Rotten Gas Smell" rocked with killer passion and the crowd immediately gave in to the band, following their every move with a returned sense excitement. Throughout the nigh, Wednesday sprinkled in new songs, all of which were received with ecstatic replies, but it was the more recent tunes that got the most explosive reactions of the night. "Chosen to Deserve" was the turning point of the evening, the best song of last year beginning to push the meter in terms of intensity and seeing the band come to life. As strong as it was, Karly repeated a verse before catching herself and following along the fans to get back in line (a tripped-up moment she blamed on the surreallness of selling out the venue and I'll give it to her) and from that moment after, even with a few more lyrical jumbles, the band locked in and was ready to leave it all out on stage. Their cover of Gary Stewart's "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)" was another smash hit and even saw Hartzman get into the crowd to sing the first half of the number, the band laying on the sludge extra-thick for the chorus which gave it a true Wednesday feel. "Turkey Vulture's" and "Quarry" continued the band's surge and as they maximized their sound, the crowd turned it up a notch as well. A pit opened up and soon a person crowd surfed to the stage, a moment that looked as if it blew the band's own mind on stage, but amped up the crowd even more. The mix of grunge and shoegaze with a bit of Crazy Horse twang is undeniable on stage and the sheer thrill of watching this crew bring these tunes to life is one of the strongest going right now and their magnetism is only strengthening. "This is our last song because my voice is absolutely shredded after I sing it so if you've got anything left in the tank, let's go" Karly directed before the band tore into "Bull Believer," their final and perhaps most triumphant moment of the night, the crowd going as hard as ever, the vicious screams unleashing all the pent-up aggression and feelings of frustrations in one major release, a moment of absolute harmony and total bliss.