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The Synergetic Performances from Wild Blue Yonder and Trespasser

Bands that thrive off of live shows guarantee you an incredible night, but what Wild Blue Yonder and Trespasser did at the Bowery Electric recently could turn anyone into a fan instantly.


Wild Blue Yonder is a Pittsburgh-based jam band consisting of members Dan Sawyer (guitar, bass, vocals, organ songwriter), Eli Alfieri (guitar, bass, vocals, songwriter), Mark Riggio (drums), Jason Kuehnle (keyboards), and Drew Bayura (organ, synth). Their band name means the sky’s vastness, which perfectly encapsulates what this band stands for.


Wild Blue Yonder is not a band that you can put into a box; they do not shy away from playing with different genres, sounds, instruments, and even from playing live. Wild Blue Yonder was founded in 2019 and have been playing live shows since high school, ranging from once a week to more, and it's evident in the way they perform.


Trespasser, a now New York City, Brooklyn-based band, was created while attending university in 2021 and wasn’t always known as Trespasser but rather as the Clay Rodger Band, which you guessed was Rodgers band where it leaned more towards his songwriting, but Trespasser brings in more people such as Clay Rodgers (guitar, vocals), Matt Grimaldi (guitar), Natalia Catalan (bass), Hudson Christie (piano), Jack Warnock (drums), and Noah Lilienthal (keyboard, saxophone).


You without a doubt have never heard music like Trespasser, as I hadn't, but you can hear the influences that they pull in from all different eras and genres, such as country, folk, rock, jazz, and more, from artists like Townes Van Zandt, The Grateful Dead, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and Bob Dylan.

Trespasser thrives off of their live sets, and their improved stage presence manifests this essence of comfortability on stage and performing for an audience. What makes it even more fun to see them live is that they change up their sets a lot, so you're bound to hear a new song every time.


Originally, I planned to only see Wild Blue Yonder, but after I looked at the lineup and saw Trespasser, purely out of the fact that it was a cool name, I came an hour earlier. The musical gods were guiding me in the right direction that night. I did not hear any of Trespasser’s music before the show, as I usually do, but I was taken aback by how much I ended up enjoying them. I went home to listen to everything, only to discover that my favorite song that was performed live, "Man,” is not out yet but still unreleased. The only thing worse than “Man” not being released is that they played a short set with limited songs, but granted, they were long songs that had beautifully joyful instrumentals that had people moving to the beat. On top of refreshing songs, they had this awkwardly charming stage presence that felt welcoming and showed a level of humility, as they repeatedly stated that it was their first gig. Trespasser is one of those bands that, once you see them one time, you’ll never stop showing up.


Similarly, Wild Blue Yonder expands the limits and boundaries of music, and having not known what a jam band was or having ever seen one, I learned to love and appreciate it. It's impressive how everyone in Wild Blue Yonder seamlessly makes everything sound effortless and well-rehearsed, even though most of their songs are improvised for their live sets. Once you hear a song live, you'll never hear it play that way again.


Bowery Electric was Wild Blue Yonder’s debut in New York City, but it did not feel that way. They feel and sound like a band that brings many different components to their music, and the stage that night represents that. There were eight players on stage. They brought in three players: Will Johnson (trumpet), Henry Koban-Payne (trombone), and Leo Steinreide (guitar).


Wild Blue Yonder played an exuberantly dynamic set of three songs, but that is the wonder and mysticism of jam bands. The first song was over twenty minutes long, making the last one the shortest one that rounded to less than ten minutes, never allowing a dull moment to sweep away the audience. Jam bands are, for the most part, improvisational, with everything occurring on the spot. It's this mesmerizing effect of no communication but instead this flood of feelings where they feel the energy of the rest of the band. There were moments when you felt the song was about to end, but someone picked it back up, and everyone followed along. As an audience member, it's mind-blowing to watch them conduct themselves without ever physically or visually communicating. It emphasizes how well they work together and the trust and confidence they have in each other's talent, which manifests in this synergy. Sadly their set only being fifty-five minutes, it did not feel that way as they hit the last note of their final song. I had wished there was another song left for them to play. 


Both bands are bringing this breath of fresh air to their respective music scenes with the philosophy of their bands and music. They are challenging the boundaries of genres while having fun and bringing that liveliness to their live performances.

Written by Veronica Anaya

Photography by Melissa Joy

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