The stage was “Sett” on Friday night as a crowd composed of hipsters warmed up in Union South, anxiously anticipating what would be an unforgettable show. Wisconsin Union Directorate’s (WUD) latest concert brought in a sizable group of fans.
New to the scene but already enjoying great success, Drugdealer’s latest musical venture, “Hiding in Plain Sight,” explores the soulful, groovy sounds of ‘70s rock with a modern indie twist.
The band has made a name for themselves with their latest tour, stopping most recently on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Their tour has it all: comedic banter between bandmates, legendary parties at local bars and, of course, stellar musicianship at all levels of the band’s sound.
To kick off the night, doo-wop revivalist Reverend Baron charmed the audience with his passionate, deep drawl and impressively delicate guitar work. He opened with his hit single, “Let the Radio Play.” The singer-songwriter’s timeless Americana style combined with his suave suit transported me to a 1940s prom soundtracked by a true master of slow dances.
The most intimate moment from his set occurred when he sat down at the keys for “Waiting on You,” a mellow song that was the perfect match for the smooth Wurlitzer-inspired chords he laid down.
Baron concluded with an endearing performance of “Jackie.” His heartfelt vocals serenaded the slowly swaying crowd, who sent him on his way with enthusiastic cheers.
After some lag time, the five members of Drugdealer appeared and immediately got the audience out of their seats, swarming right up to the front of the stage. Boldly, Drugdealer started their show with an unreleased track that can only be described as a whirlwind of funk.
The song was driven by a heavy groove that sped up as the band members jammed with each other, feeding off of energetic drum fills and syncopated rhythms. Next, the band moved on to showcase tracks from their latest album.
“Valentine” featured a great back-and-forth between frontman Micheal Collins and the band’s guitarists. The old school, yacht rock guitar line complemented the heartfelt chorus well, and it was a big hit with fans. Another new cut, “Someone to Love,” featured a fat, funky bassline that got everyone moving.
Drugdealer stepped into their earlier discography with the ‘60s psychedelia-inspired song “The Real World.” The ethereal background vocals made the song sway-worthy.
Fans went old school and pulled out lighters to wave instead of the modern phone flashlight approach. It was refreshing to see people enjoying a concert through their ears instead of their phones. There were few people in attendance recording every moment of the show; the audience was there to let loose and soak in the music in the moment.
“Madison” was a natural fan favorite. The crowd pretended the lyrics were about their beloved hometown, instead of some girl named Madison, and sang along to the soulful chorus.
Soon, Drugdealer brought the show to a close with their biggest hit, “Suddenly.”
It’s a relatively slow song, but they creatively reworked it to become the perfect upbeat closer. It’s always a treat to see a band take a new approach to a song you’ve heard on Spotify a million times.
The usual hypnotic guitar solo from the recording was replaced with an extended jam featuring multiple solos, speeding up as the musicians treated the fans to a one of a kind rock jam session.
Before saying goodbye, the band announced they were heading to local bars to enjoy the town’s famed nightlife. The tour’s next destination is Canada, before it will circle back to the East coast. Be sure to check Drugdealer out if you’re looking for some groovy, nostalgic indie tunes!