Smith Westerns played at the Music Hall of Williamsburg Wednesday night, with Wampire opening the show. Smith Westerns stopped in on tour of their latest album Soft Will.
Years ago Smith Westerns caught my attention with a fantastic debut album that was lo-fi as all hell, but featured some killer guitar tunes. I liked the expansion of their sound to a glam-rock territory on sophomore album Dye It Blonde. They slowed things down ever further on Soft Will, which features a solid set of songs that are good, but a further stray away from what made me love them in the first place.
The show didn’t shy away from this at all, playing all material from their last two albums, save for one song. Smith Westerns are at their best live when they let loose and play their rockier jams, which lets the bands anchor, guitarist Max Kakacek, show off his amazing talent.
There’s no doubt the band has shown growth, with “Imagine Pt. 3”, “All Die Young” and “Weekend” stealing the show, as well as Soft Will’s lead single, “Varsity.” I couldn’t help but feel like the band is missing a major chance to rock out by playing some of their older stuff (“Be My Girl”, “Dreams”), which are partially the reason I became a fan of these guys. I know that they want to show that they’re a more mature band, but I don’t understand why they completely abandoned these songs either.
Smith Westerns are able to create some lovely sounds when they want to, and they showed that with most of the songs that they played, but I just wish they let loose a little bit more and rocked out like they did when I saw them open for Wavves a few years back.