Youman Wilder and Weird Stories returned to the Village Land Mark music club Kenny's Castaways for what was a home coming and an Industry showcase for the Music Insiders of New York.
The Band which has seemed to perform mostly at high end Jazz Festivals in Europe and Canada was back on it's home turf here in New York.
With a packed house that easily over flowed on to the Bleeker Street curbs, the band was back in New York to showoff a show full of original songs.
Kenny's was filled to the rafters with Record Executives whom sat high above the paying audience to greet Wilder and his extraordinary group of musicians. Nelson Bainbridge (piano) Curtis Heyward (bass) Markel Dupree (drums)and Preston Torrey (sax) Tenor/Soprano/Alto Ricky King Lead Guitar.
The band entered the stage from the back of the house as the lights went down the soul came up as Wilder and Company lit into the Neo-Soul/Funk song "Makes Me Want To Lose Control" (You know its gonna be a good night when your opening number is greeted with a standing ovation.).
The African Inspired "The World Is a Ghetto" followed,Wilder who was in fine voice showed off his cadence to blend the worlds of Neo-Soul and Gospel with his soaring walling tenor.
Wilder who seemed to be most perceptive to the piano styling's of the great Nelson Bainbridge lit the stage on sheer fire, singing up in the higher register of his soaring 3 octave tenor Wilder once again showed why he can sing with the best of them standing in front of a microphone.
The beautiful song "Harlem Rain" which Wilder introduced was an absolute touching and moving moment, the classical introduction and the once again brilliant Piano playing of Nelson Bainbridge along with Wilder's gospel inspired vocals once again bought the house to a rousing standing ovation.
"Salsa Mas Quada' and the supped up "To Whom It May Concern" where also highlights of the 75 minute show.
The extremely breathtaking song "Images" with music written by the Late "Nina Simone" was dark and poignant. Wilder who can rip with the best of them once again showcased why he can sell a song and understand the feeling of the moment as he with Guitarist Ricky King did a wonderful job on this Simone song.
The only song that was not written by Wilder was the Ashford and Simpson funk filled "Don't Cost Ya Nothing" (featuring Nicole Wallace) Wilder and Wallace sang wonderfully together.
"AMERICA" (Does She Really Love Me?) rounded out the rousing set,once again Wilder's innate soulful reading of this song landing him another standing ovation as he and Weird Stories exited the stage.
Wilder then returned to the stage with Weird Stories in tow and did what he rarely does? He did an encore, as Bass Player Markel Dupree fixed a bass string, Wilder received some fun ribbing from Bainbridge and Preston Torrey on his being selected one of the Sexiest Men in Paris.
Wilder who looked absolutely sexy in a Tailored shirt and pants decided to dedicate the song "One Stop Away From Brooklyn" to all the women in the audience.
Once again Wilder and Weird Stories hit the song out of the ball park. With the standing ovations and the over flowing crowds Youman Wilder and Weird Stories returned back to New York City and put every one on notice that they are here to stay?
This show should put Wilder and Weird Stories on the USA map so we can keep them in the States and have them traveling less overseas. Youman Wilder has put together insightful and emotional charged songs, his combination of gospel/blues/r&b and jazz shows he can sing it all, and with Weird Stories the combination at Kenny's Castaways was one of sheer musical magic.
After Thursday nights show I am sure we will be paying a different admission ticket and we will be seeing Wilder at one of the bigger musical venues in the city?
Absolutely a show stopper of a performer.
Amy Goldstein has contributed to the Village Voice, Billboard and PopMatters.