Big Wreck at Bottom of the Hill, by Patric Carver

Big Wreck (photo: Patric Carver)

“Wow. This place is small.”

This was the most common observation amongst Big Wreck fans gathered at Bottom of the Hill, most of whom seemed to be visiting the space for the first time.

Opening act Texas King managed to make the walls of the space seem a little more expansive. The crowd, a general mix of jaded Wreck fans anxious for the main event, met the youthful enthusiasm of Texas King at first with some eye-rolling at their on-stage antics such as jogging in place, Springsteen-style. However, the rock and roll eventually won out and mid-set, the band actually had the crowd singing along to “Come Find Me,” a gushy, celebratory, romantic song. Their sound was generally bright and happy. Lead singer Jordan Macdonald has a strong voice reminiscent of Adam Duritz. Overall, the whole set was solid.

Big Wreck was more of a mixed bag. They played plenty of works from their new album, . . . but for the Sun. Judging from the performance of those songs, Big Wreck is as fun to listen to as ever. Bass that drops the bottom out from under the audience; ropey, beautiful guitar; and heavy vocal presence. However, there seems to be more uncertainty in their sound now than ever. I’m all for a good guitar solo, but several? On nearly every song? It seemed to be more of a session than a performance at points, with Big Wreck showing off. Enjoyable at first, wearing at points.

The highlight of the evening for me was hearing “That Song” from their first album. Fleshed out but not overdone, it showcased Wreck at their finest.

Big Wreck didn’t exactly tear the house down, but there were moments of real sonic supremacy. Sometimes less is more.