Wil Wagner Oxford Art Factory Sydney, AUS February 19, 2017
As the frontman, singer, lyricist, guitarist and keyboardist of The Smith Street Band -- an allusion to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band –- the name meaning to encapsulate an iconic Melbourne street, which also happened to be along an iconic Melbourne route who had a typically route 86 sound, Wil Wagner has two critically acclaimed LPs under his belt.
While still aligning with the DNA of The Smith Street Band, him stepping away from the horde and only armed with his guitar presents him as an endearing, vulnerable singer / songwriter, delivering barebones heartfelt, open and simplistically honest ditties that defy the humdrum of modern life and what standards and its demands impose upon us.
In a live environment the raw and personal songs are carried by their content, Wagner’s charisma and him wearing his heart on his sleeve – the soundtrack to having beers with friends and reminisce or alternatively bleed your lil’ heart out about unreciprocated love.
While it would be easy to label and compare Wil’s solo efforts with the myriad of other punk luminaries going it alone and insist that a bit of variation might contribute to his oeuvre, it is his self-depreciation, the at times quirky vocal harmonies and his fearlessness when it comes to tapping into what is commonly referred to as weaknesses and displaying the whole spectrum of struggles one encounters as a human being, that despite the often depressing content of his songs, manages to comfort not only frazzled twenty-somethings but turns frowns of upside down all around.
Check him out while he still has “best kept secret” status...
Photo by KAVV