Last Thursday, Waterstrider headlined Leo's Music Club in Oakland as part of local label OIM Records' current weekly residency. I haven't seen them live since they released their stellar debut album, Nowhere Now, back in April, and I've been missing out. They were in amazing form as usual. My observation has been that they've gotten better each time I've seen them and this night was no exception. They veer so easily from restrained and beautiful to bombastic and, well, still beautiful. The arrangements are ornate at times and barren when necessary. Nate Salman's voice sails over the top of these new songs so wonderfully -- their sound just engulfed the continuously undulating crowd. Walker Johnson's drumming is impeccable, his timing and feel are dead on. I was in communication with him after the show and it turns out he's no ordinary rock drummer - his time spent spent playing jazz, latin and afro-beat rhythms over the years gives this music a necessary urgency. I'm not sure these songs would work without his pulsing polyrhythms propelling things forward, those folks were moving, man. They are such a pleasure to watch. And I must admit I was so pleased to see folks dancing all night. It is one of my least favorite things about most Bay Area shows -- even if the crowd is really into it, they rarely move, save a few head bobs or fist pumps at key moments. If this is the future of Oakland, then I'm on board.
Waterstrider's "Frayed" is the lead track on said compilation. Check out the amazing music video, directed by Marta Dymek, below and then watch them play "Frayed" and "New Sun" at Leo's last Thursday. Nate was really feeling it, even abandoning his guitar on "New Sun" to sing and dance with the crowd. And I quote, "I'm diggin' the dance moves, guys."