Words and Photos: DJ
Up and coming Country Rock artist Koe Wetzel, finally got his chance to play his brand of Country/Rock/Punk/Grunge to the crowds at The Orion Amphitheater this past Saturday, July 22nd. If you recall his previous date was set for May 12th, but due to illness and his voice going out from the show in Nashville, the Orion date was postponed until now. Fans of Wetzel got rewarded, however, after a delayed visit to Huntsville It was more than so paid in full with a great night out that brought all the influences in his music to the table.
Wetzel is an interesting story because he doesn’t follow suit in your traditional Country, which is the reason at its earliest beginnings the reception was lukewarm by Country music purists. But like many grassroots artists, his music hit new levels of notoriety with the younger fan base and has successfully crossed over with other genres of Rock/Grunge/Punk, given his musical influences this is not a surprise but rather a nice touch that is very appealing to a broader audience. Once he got in with Columbia Records, his touring reached even more of the fan base. Some of his most popular songs have been streamed close to 100 million times on Spotify, with popular tunes the likes of “Something To Talk About’, “February 28th, 2016” and “Good Die Young” to name a few.
Before reaching the headliner, Nashville-based Rock artist Bones Owens warmed up the muggy night even more with a nice set. An opener that complimented Wetzel’s varied style nicely. Bones brings his mix of Alternative, Indie Rock, and Blues and presents it on full display very nicely. Thought they played well, hints of Rival Sons when they first started breaking out in the scene. Songs like “Keep it Close” and “White Lines” left a mark. An artist to keep an ear out for as you will surely hear more from them in the future.
Next up was Pecos & the Rooftops, the North Texas outfit led by their charismatic and giant frontman Pecos Hurley (Vocals/Acoustic Guitar). The guys just released their self-titled first full-length album last month and songs like “This Damn Song” have been on constant rotation on streaming services over the past year. Again another up-and-coming band that does well on this night. Pecos is a more traditional Country, but their chemistry live is evident. “Last Thing I Remember” is another cool tune that’s one of their singles off their debut. Thought the guys put on a great show and kept things rolling and primed and ready for Wetzel. Solid rhythm and bass section made their sound more crisp throughout their set.
The stagehands prep the stage for Koe Wetzel as his set does feature some pyro throughout the setlist. He kicks things into high gear with “Fuss and Fight” as the pyro lights up the stage, and the night erupts into a full-blown party. The positive vibes keep flowing with “Something To Talk About” and more fire comes with “Sundy or Mundy” a crowd favorite. The grungy licks in “Forever” always play nice with the fan base, followed by “Creeps” and “Good Die Young”. The party atmosphere doesn’t let up as more crowd favorites hit the rotation with “Kuntry & Wistern” and the night ends with “Feb 28”, a song that many this night probably took to their favorite fast food joint after the show. Wetzel is seasoned in the scene and is firmly cementing his musical roots on full display. Despite his eye-raising lyrics, this musical outlaw simply does not give a damn about spitting any lyrical fire, and can’t argue with the results. If ever there was a guy who portrays Outlaw Country just right, Koe would be it.
Another successful night of music in the Rocket City, I have to say every time we cover a show at the Orion, the security staff is always great, and the hard-working folks working the bars and the facility, in general, are always on top of it. The venue in its’ second year already has become a popular spot in town and is centrally located in the ever-growing Midcity district area of Huntsville, the rest of summer looks even better with some pretty big names coming to town. This a hot spot for many locals and out-of-towners now and one you should get in line for future events.