If you’re overlooking the bands playing upstairs at White Oak this summer, you are doing it wrong. Last week, two up and coming alt bands, Wild Rivers and The Roosevelts, rolled through the upstairs venue at White Oak Music Hall and laid down some of the most intimate sets I’ve seen in a while.
Wild Rivers is a indie-folk band out of Toronto, Canada that features the breathtaking vocals of Devan Glover and Khalid Yassein, accompanied by Ben Labenski on the drums and Andrew Oliver on guitar. They rolled through White Oak last Thursday for the eighth stop on their U.S. tour and played a set that featured most of their songs off of their 2016 Wild Rivers LP. It was the band’s first time playing a set in Houston, and their seemingly loyal fan base seemed to be geeking out over the super intimate show that may be a once in a lifetime experience, as the band continues to gain popularity, not only in Canada, but now also in the U.S.
Their set included their more popular songs like “Wandering Child,” “Heart Attack” and “Already Gone” as well as some of their lesser known songs such as “Mayday” (which Yassein explained was written about his best friends breakup). Their set — and music in general — is really vibey, and they create a super intimate and chill live set experience which kind of reminded me of a Lumineers-esque concert. Yassein and Glover seem to mesh their vocals perfectly together, creating really cool harmonies that fit in perfectly with the instrumentals. They were really engaged with their fans, at one point even playing a song off the stage surrounded by the audience and even taking time to meet everyone after the show. I highly recommend checking Wild Rivers out if you’re looking for a new indie band to vibe with.
I also got the chance to check out The Roosevelts. The Austin-based band, which has a new-found contemporary pop/alt direction, played a set that featured everything from their newly released single “Do You Want Me” (which better displays the new direction of the band) to their biggest hit “Peaches” (a song released back in 2016 with their old lead singer). Their new lead vocalist, Mitchell Kilpatrick, brought some serious energy to the set, laying down powerful vocals and energetic jumping guided by the masterful guitarist Jason Kloess (i.e. the original Roosevelt). Their audience included a wide spectrum of ages and even some OG Roosevelt fans, who shouted out a song request from one of Jason’s older bands catching him off-guard and impressed. Despite the residual base rattling through White Oak from the Stephen Marley set downstairs, the Roosevelts were still able to deliver a really engaging set to their audience. I’m really excited to see where the Roosevelts go and what new music they continue to release.
If you’re not checking out the bands playing the upstairs venue at White Oak, you could be missing out on some seriously good live sets and intimate shows that are unmatched by most other venues in Houston.