Reviews

Concert Review: Wyland Brings The Fruits Of GratitudeTo Arlene’s Grocery

Wyland played Arlene’s Grocery on January 24 and brought to the small stage a big heart. If you have ever been to Arlene’s Grocery, you know it is an intimate space lined with graffiti, posters, and stickers on the walls. It looks like a cool dungeon where every outcast/genius left there own personal detail to say “I was here”. The statement is a common one made throughout human history, and felt like the central motivation of Wyland’s music.

Wyland is like the younger brother of bands like The Lumineers and Mumford And Sons, but their similarity comes in spirit. Each of these bands aim for nuanced lyricism that shows daily life is complex because it is simple. Whether you are walking to the corner store or binge-watching a Netflix series with friends, simple things can lead to deep and bigger emotions: from love to boredom. Having this similar essence is what will make you watch Wyland with wonder and connection because, while most music aims to make you feel big, Wyland aims to show you that you are big by making the small details feel like giant, rapid guitar melodies. By creating songs with dreamy, stringed vibrations that follow each other like beads being threaded together, the audience could not help but feel drawn to follow each string into each word. As one bead/string follows the other, you begin to see a lyrical necklace being formed and are moved that you are the one forming it. Wyland’s music shows you that the necklace is life, each bead/ rhythm is a formative moment in your life, and you are the creator of it all. That ability to make you see visions from lyrics that are all about reality, makes their set feel like a gift because most of us are not exactly dreaming about what we have, but Ryan Sloan has a voice that makes you want to treat your life like a worthy adventure.

Ryan Sloan’s voice is rich in value. While he sings with emotions, it is how he sings like a man finding gratitude in his words that made his performance feel so lovely. Being grateful for your life, even when it does not always feel worth living, is one of the key paths to positivity and strength, which made his songs felt like rolling affirmations. Not only did they have bits wisdom spread amongst them like specks of gold in the bottom of a flowing river, but they also gave off a sense of genuine “okayness”. He sings as if life will get better because its already fine, and that overarching sentiment helps him overcome the songs that share the most common themes of life/music such as, heartache, disappointment, and overall confusion. Moreover, they give his vocals a weightiness that makes Wyland’s enlightened lyrics feel like wings clashing with the wind: as Sloan soars into high and low notes with ease you witnessed these winded feelings that have tried to bring his soulful voice down. As he plays his guitar like its his best friend, and stares into and above the audience like stars are either in our eyes or above our heads, no one could help but want to be guided into Sloan’s stories/ songs. When you have a presence that is both humble and hearty, you draw people in and Sloan has that presence as a performer and songwriter, which played well with the backdrop of Arlene’s Grocery.
Something about the seeded glory of the well-known NYC Bar, brought out the presence of Wyland. As a group, they feel like the musicians sent by life to capture what it is all about, and Arlene’s Grocery, in many ways, is a perfect place to do that. As friends laughed and drank after-work beers, Wyland captured the atmosphere through sounds and words about what its like to go on the “daily grind” and try to make a life that feels like it is being lived. Thus, amongst the personalities and posters that that made known “I am here” through a colorful being, Wyland gave us music that retorted, “Yes, you are here. So how are you going to make your life’s presence feel present?”. For More Information on Wyland Click Here, and catch their concert while you can. My intuition says they are going to go far.