By Brian Tucker
Saturday night Virginia’s country/soul/rock band If Birds Could Fly played the second show of their two night stand in Wilmington at Satellite Bar & Lounge (they performed at Bourgie Nights on Friday night and sold out of CDs). The foursome’s electrified set showcased a band that could play music down and dirty but doing so with a heart-on-the-sleeve approach.
Led by a wonderful singer in Brittany Ashley, the band delivered an electric, bar band set of tunes brought on by Andrew Carter’s thick and elegantly ragged guitar playing. Ashley’s presence couldn’t have been more at ease, natural, and openly friendly to the crowd that went from drinking and talking among themselves to paying attention soon after the band started. This should really be backdated to their sound check, running through bits of songs and sounding great too.
Ashley served up songs with a simple introduction beforehand and followed through with numbers about drinking, bad relationships, feeling sorry with a glass of beer or asking the crowd about snake farms. On the latter, IBCF ran through a swampy, dark-tinged rendition of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Snake Farm” giving it heft, sultriness and a bit of danger. Of what I saw Saturday night there was little of the tender songs the band have videos for on YouTube, great ones like “We Got Love.”
That’s no complaint, there’s nothing better than a gritty, thumping rock and roll set. Accompanied with Ashley’s country soul voice it was sweet and reaching like Loretta Lynn and kicking like Janis Joplin. I only caught the first part of this set because it was another night where the Wilmington Curse struck, at least for me.
I call it this because there have been many, many times over the years where two shows happen on the same night I want to check out. After six songs it was off to Ziggy’s for the Thunderlip show. Days later IBCF’s sound is still ringing in my head, right along with the sonic assault at Ziggy’s.
Should If Birds Could Fly return to town it is a band to seek out. I’ll see you there.