Entertain me: The Wild Feathers and The Shelters

By The Beacon | April 6, 2016 8:14pm
The Wild Feathers. Photo by Frank Maddocks.

by Cheyenne Schoen |

When asked about his weirdest tour experience, The Wild Feathers drummer Ben Dumas said their “super fan” in Toronto takes the cake.

“She knows I’m a huge Ninja Turtles fan, so she brought me some Ninja Turtles boxers,” Dumas said. “I think she has a couple Chihuahuas named after us, too.”

Sounds of true Americana rock ‘n’ roll filled Mississippi Studios Sunday night as The Wild Feathers and The Shelters played to a house packed with loyal fans and first-time listeners alike.

The show opened up to a full house with an upbeat set by The Shelters, whose ‘50s greaser swagger so obviously screamed “L.A. garage band.” They opened up with “Rebel Heart,” the single off their debut self-titled album that was co-produced by Tom Petty, who The Shelters will be opening for this summer. The foursome set the bar high for the evening with the bright and punchy sounds heard in “Birdwatching,” the band’s first single and biggest hit. Psychedelic guitar fills and gritty walking bass lines woven throughout songs had the crowd head banging the entire set.

Next up were The Wild Feathers, showcasing their recently-released rock album “Lonely is a Lifetime.”

The girl next to me had seen The Wild Feathers four times. She knew every single song. “You’re gonna dig them,” she said.

And she was right. The Wild Feathers’ set had it all: carefully crafted three-part harmonies, gritty Telecaster solos, soulful acoustic melodies and beats that kept the crowd dancing the entire show.

While their music was most definitely rock ‘n’ roll, songs like “Backwoods Company” hinted to the group’s Nashville roots with tasty bluegrass-country electric guitar licks.

"It's been a while and it’s good to be back,” guitarist and singer Taylor Burns said to the crowd of Portlanders. “It's become our home away from home. We play here more than in Nashville."

While all players were exceptional musicians, the standout was 21-year-old electric guitarist Daniel Donato, who is so aptly named “The New Master of the Telecaster” by the Hal Leonard Music Corporation. While not an original band member, Donato’s outstanding technique wowed the audience and left me absolutely blown away on tracks like “How,” which featured Donato on pleasantly lengthy, soulful guitar solos.

Another standout moment was when frontman Ricky Young jumped off stage into the audience during the band’s final and most popular song, “The Ceiling,” in a passionate interaction with the audience that was truly unique.

Dumas said “Lonely is a Lifetime” was heavily inspired by ‘80s rock band The Replacements. While recording, the band oftentimes left their mistakes on the track for an added element of rawness.

“We were in the moment and going for it and we were like, let’s leave that just how it is,” Dumas said. “That’s raw, that’s real, that’s rock ‘n’ roll. The Replacements, they wouldn’t have gone back and fixed that, they would’ve recorded it.”

Dumas was excited to get to Portland for the show. He said they’ve been to Portland three or four times and that he was looking forward to the Voodoo donuts.

“First time we ever came to Portland it was Taylor’s birthday and we went to this Pokpok Thai place, and it was amazing,” Dumas said. “It blew our minds.”

I’m looking forward to my next chance to see The Wild Feathers rock yet another packed house.


Cheyenne Schoen is a staff writer at The Beacon. She can be reached at schoen17@up.edu.