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Willie Nile Band ~ 2013 March 22 ~ Iron Horse Music Hall ~ Northampton, MA

... by Joanne Corsano ...

The Willie Nile Band
Matt, Willie, Alex and Johnny
Click on the picture
for a photo gallery of the concert

Willie Nile on lead vocals and electric guitar; Johnny Pisano on bass and backing vocals; Alex Alexander on drums; Matt Hogan on lead guitar and backing vocals

Set List

note: songs from American Ride (Willie's upcoming album) are marked with {AR}.
Life on Bleecker Street {AR} - The Innocent Ones - Heaven Help the Lonely - Doomsday Dance - Rich and Broken - Holy War {AR} - Midnight Rose - Give Me Tomorrow - Road to Calvary - Not Fade Away {Buddy Holly, but performed in the style of the Rolling Stones} - When One Stands - She's Got My Heart {AR} - Hard Day's Night {Beatles} - House of a Thousand Guitars - People Who Died {Jim Carroll} {AR} - One Guitar ... encore ... You Gotta Be A Buddha (In A Place Like This)

Scroll down past the videos for review; click to the right for photo gallery.


"Doomsday Dance":

"Midnight Rose":

"You Gotta Be A Buddha (In A Place Like This)":

Concert Review

This was my eleventh time seeing Willie Nile, but it was the first time I've seen him with his rockin' drummer and guitarist, Alex Alexander and Matt Hogan. It was my first time seeing the Willie Nile Rock Band in all their wild, loud abandon. One of Willie's primary strengths as a performer is his adaptability. I've seen him in a semi-acoustic setting with just him and Johnny Pisano; or just him, Johnny, and Frankie Lee on a minimalist drum kit; I've seen him in a rock setting with Peter Hoffman on guitar, who, although he is a marvelous guitarist, has a limited repertoire due to his relatively infrequent appearances with Willie; and now I've seen Willie rock the house with his full band in all their splendor. Which type of Willie Nile show is "better"? I believe they're all equally good in different ways, and it really depends on the taste of the individual concert goer. It's a reason to keep going to his shows -- you won't see the same show twice.

Willie took full advantage of this rock configuration. He abandoned the acoustic guitar he'd played at the One Longfellow Square and Club Passim shows last weekend and played electric. He skipped anything resembling a ballad, choosing to not even have the piano out on stage. It's a different type of show, a full rock show, loud and energetic, no holds barred.

Willie himself is always more than a little wild on stage, but tonight his high energy body language was matched by Johnny Pisano and Matt Hogan, both of whom pranced around the stage, swung their guitars back and forth in unison, played on their knees, played back to back with each other. I've heard of the legendary Johnny Pisano rock star leaps but had never seen one before tonight; and tonight he did that leap, twice. We'll call him Air Pisano from now on. Johnny's backing vocals were great, including some falsetto that I didn't know he possessed. Both Johnny and Matt played with joyfulness, Matt stretching out on lengthy solos on a few of the songs, especially on "Road to Calvary" and "When One Stands."

Along with a small handful of songs from the upcoming album, American Ride, Willie pleased the loud and enthusiastic sold-out crowd with gems from all phases of his career, from the smashing "Midnight Rose" to the punk "People Who Died" to the rock-philosophy of "You Gotta Be A Buddha (In A Place Like This)." Willie & company had just come back from Austin, Texas where they performed at South By Southwest, and when there had participated in a Beatles performance, so they treated the crowd to a rousing version of "A Hard Day's Night," which I believe clocked in at about 1 min. 55 seconds.

The Iron Horse was sold out for this show, and Concert Going Partner and I wound up sitting in the balcony, from where we had extraordinary sound as well as a great view. I got some very good pictures (see the photo gallery to the right on this page) and took some videos, which have very good audio but somewhat distant video.

More Willie

Interested in my other Willie Nile reviews? Here is a page with a handy list of links to all pages on this website with Nihilist content.

Click for 2013 Concert Page with links to all 2013 concerts ... Click for Main Concert Page with links to all years

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