Wednesday – Whammy Bar: February 22, 2024 (Concert Review)

Wednesday on a Thursday…the North Carolina noise-rockers rolling into Auckland’s Whammy Bar only to find a sold-out audience waiting to be rocked, entertained and challenged. And that’s just what happened.

A hot summer’s night in New Zealand and wear else would a music-loving fool want to be that at Whammy. It seemed that everyone felt the same as the place was pleasantly KTMPpacked.

Sadly, I arrived just in time to miss opening act KMTP, but 13th Floor photographer Chris Warne was onto it and his photos feature below.

It was just after 9:30pm when the five members of Wednesday took to the stage amid shrieks of feedback as they opened with Ghost Of A Dog…an Edie Brickell cover found on the band’s 2021 album, Twin Plagues…that quickly segued into Hot Rotten Grass Smell from the more recent, Rat Saw God. There was plenty of loud, angular distortion, mostly provided by guitarist Jake Lenderman, with vocalist/guitarist Karly Hartzman shrieking as much as singing.

OK, a night of noise…I’m up for that. And so was the assembled crowd.

WednesdayBut the members of Wednesday had a few surprises to keep us on our toes, beginning with a new song, Candy Breath, getting its live debut and featuring some swirling, psychedelic sonics.

Not bad.

Then Cody’s Only gave us a little of the old soft-LOUD with plenty of throbbing feedback to get those heads a-bobbin’.

For those who wallow in it, there was plenty of angst in Twin Plagues as Karly warbled, “my fear never leaves me”.

The band had previously played in Wellington, at Meow, but that was almost a week ago and we learn that they saw “lots of cool stuff” on their days off resulting in their “brains completely smoothed over” as Jake put it.

And so they mellow out a bit on Formula One before announcing “a country song”.

I’m intrigued.


Sure enough Chosen To Deserve is indeed that, complete with pedal steel, played by Xandy Chelmis, and lyrics about watered down liquor, boring drugs and loneliness…yep, that sounds like country music and, surprisingly, its sounds great in this unlikely context. The crowd agrees and gives it the biggest ovation of the night…so far.

WednesdayOther highlights (there are many) include Turkey Vultures with keen observational lyrics about “sex shops off the highway with biblical names” and another new song called Elder Berry.

The band is working up a thirst and the Whammy crew have them covered…they’ve installed a pulley system over the crowd with a basket attached so they can get beer directly to the needy musicians.

Its genius!

The hour-plus set comes to a close with a warning.

Karly lets us know there are four songs left…a “chill one”, them something a bit more upbeat before getting to Fate Is…and Bull Believer which, if Karly is to be believed, will incite moshing.

She’s got it all worked out, clearing a space up front for the moshers, and making sure those not so keen are taken care of.

A nearly 10-minute version of Bull Believer brings things to a close as Karly warns us she cannot sing anything after her throat-shredding performance…the unhinged guitar playing is a bonus.

That’s cool…everyone seems quite satisfied after that epic closing number and I remain impressed with the versatility, the energy and the musicality these folks bring to the table.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Warne:

Wednesday Setlist:
  1. Ghost Of A Dog
  2. Hot Rotten Grass Smell
  3. Candy Breath
  4. Cody’s Only
  5. Twin Plagues
  6. Formula One
  7. Chosen To Deserve
  8. Elder Berry
  9. Bath County
  10. Turkey Vultures
  11. Quarry
  12. Gary’s
  13. Got Shocked
  14. Fate Is…
  15. Bull Believer