In another installment in the seemingly endless flow of concerts by WUD Music, White Reaper — with support from Post Animal — tore up the stage at The Sett on Nov. 17. A night filled with vicious guitar chords and frenetic percussion, the crowd — scarcely populated as it was — soaked in every last bit of energy.
Post Animal, a Chicago-based psych-rock group, kicked off the night in roaring fashion. Plagued by misfortune, the band was down one member after guitarist Javi Reyes suffered a stroke on stage the week prior. However his absence didn’t stop the band from tearing into wild outbursts of momentum throughout the set. The Sett was enveloped in darkness as they performed their songs filled with a trembling reverb that oozed into the audience.
With long hair aplenty, Post Animal embodied the spirit of ‘70s and ‘80s psych-rock. A hodgepodge of distorted guitar and bass with piercing vocals and hulking percussion made for a captivating series of jam sessions that rung through the audience’s ears. Bodies swayed as though the people they belonged to had no control over their motion; they were hypnotized by the rock.
Those there for Post Animal surely weren’t disappointed. As their last date on tour with White Reaper, they played with a sense of urgency — one that the audience would not soon forget. As soon as the psych-rockers left the stage, most of the crowd left the pit. In a matter of minutes, the venue was nearly empty. White Reaper’s set was up next, yet the crowd vanished.
Shortly before the headliners took the stage, a crowd flooded back into The Sett. I’m unsure if it was the same group as the Post Animal set or if it was entirely new people, but the takeaway was the same: White Reaper drew a sizable and ravenous crowd for their return to Madison.
Claiming to be “the world’s best American band,” White Reaper took the energy that Post Animal brought and turned it up to 11. A mix of tracks from their 2015 record, White Reaper Does It Again, and their 2017 project The World’s Best American Band filled the air and ears of everyone in attendance. Slowly, what used to be small pockets of energy in the crowd grew into fully-fledged moshpits fueled by frontman Tony Esposito’s raspy vocals. White Reaper thrives on old-fashioned pop-rock mentalities. Their shows’ main purpose is to rock the fuck out and have a good time doing so.
Esposito’s spastic movements and occasional yelps added fuel to the energetic fire that burned in the audience. Their claim for “the world’s best American band” may be a little far off, but they sure as hell know how to put on a show. Despite my weary state, White Reaper made me feel revitalized — something few other bands would have been able to do.