The Howlin' Wolf
February 28, 2004
The lead singer lied. He told the audience Meriwether had demos at the merchandise booth. When people bum rushed it after the show, all the merch guy could say was “sorry.”
There were some whisperings before the show the band was tight, but the largely unknown Baton Rouge group surprised me by actually being listenable. Better than that, they were good. They were well-rehearsed, their singing was above average, and their intelligent use of dynamics kept things interesting. They also had a body-twisting energy onstage. Meriwether was lead singer/guitarist Drew Reilley, bassist Josh Barbier, drummer Bret Schexnayder, and lead guitarist Steve Bergeron.
The alternating loud/soft thing’s been overplayed, and while these guys didn’t blow my ass out, they played catchy thrashing rock that was easy to get into.
The band loved their power chords, and since Bergeron was wearing a Ramones t-shirt, the band’s classic dissonant punk guitar screeches were no surprise. The band also bowed its head to Rage Against The Machine with a head-banging groove. The lead singer was a large part of their success. His voice soared and was exceptional for a local band. In addition, his lyrics were of the emotional variety, but he never whined. Everything he said seemed relevant.
Please come back, Meriwether. We need more hard rock bands that aren’t afraid to be poppy in New Orleans.