Concert Review: Wallows, PromoWest Pavilion at Ovation Music Center, Newport, KY

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Braeden Lemasters Wallows

Wallows are heavily influenced by the ‘80s, even if they don’t wear it on their sleeves. Although, sometimes they do. Like many an ‘80s band, their talent is belied by the fact that they have a young, mostly female, fandom who are very enthusiastic.

They’ve amassed quite a canon since they settled on the name Wallows circa 2017 (they released an EP in 2014 under the name the Narwhals). Two albums, two EPs, and several non-album singles later, they have established themselves as indie-rockers with a unique but accessible style. For this tour, the band tinkers with the set list show to show. Having enough material allows them to be choosey, sometimes to the dismay of hardcore/longtime fans.

The band was greeted, not surprisingly, with great fervor in Newport, KY, a location that caused the band some confusion. Oddly, lead singer Dylan Minnette mentioned they’d been to the Italian Fest on the riverfront earlier in the day—right across from downtown Cincinnati. Still, they weren’t sure how to address the crowd.

The set started with “Hard to Believe” from their latest long-player, Tell Me That It’s Over, and another new track, “Marvelous,” with “Remember When” from the previous album, the very fine Nothing Happens from 2019, sandwiched in between. They continued rocking with “Treacherous Doctor” before giving the crowd a bit of a breather with the slower “These Days.”

Dylan Minnette

Dylan Minnette of Wallows live in Newport, KY (Photo: Elizabeth Wilson)

The boys mixed things up later on in the set. Minnette sat behind the drums while timekeeper Cole Preston grabbed a guitar and belted out “Quarterback.” Shortly after that, the ‘80s kicked in with the two Braeden Lemasters-crooned ditties, “1980s Horror Film II” and the New Order-flavored “At The End of the Day.” The vocal duties for the former were largely handled, loudly, by the crowd. Sadly, Wallows’ other 1980s-inspired tune, “Ice Cold Pool,” was left off the list. That track’s opening line references a Cocteau Twins song.

They ended the main set with their first (as Wallows) single, “Pleaser.” They reconvened for an encore that started with the lovely “Do Not Wait.” Then the band, as has been customary on this tour, let the audience choose the next track. A vocal minority shouted for “Drunk on Halloween,” including The Pop Culture Beast’s photographer. A gal in the very front was having a birthday, but that didn’t sway the trio, who after some deliberation, went with the crowd. However, the birthday girl got a few bars of her pick, “World’s A Part,” right after. They finished with what is probably their most widely known song, “Are You Bored Yet?” A good choice, though they had many other great songs they could have chosen, which is a problem every artist likes to have. Nine stars because our photographer wanted to hear “I’m Full,” and didn’t get that tune in Cincinnati or the week before in Cleveland.


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PF WilsonConcert Review: Wallows, PromoWest Pavilion at Ovation Music Center, Newport, KY