Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Red Gretchen at Sidewalk

Ronnie Wheeler was once a broken man living in New Mexico. Playing music provided cathartic healing. He took guitar lessons, practiced with diligence, and in 2000 settled into a new life in Brooklyn, New York. Wheeler now plays in many bands, including the stoner metal Mora Tau, the folkie Granny and the roots-based Ronnie Wheeler Acoustic Blues Band, but his main obsession is the psychedelic garage band Red Gretchen. Red Gretchen also includes bassist Anne Husick and drummer Shauna Westgate. Red Gretchen's fourth and most recent EP, Illicit, was released on March 13, 2015.

Recently scaled down from a quartet to a trio, the slightly thinner sounding Red Gretchen found itself veering into a slightly new direction at its video release party for "Jumper" at Sidewalk tonight. Without the second guitarist, Red Gretchen's music more than ever augmented Wheeler's studious exploration of alternate tuning, gritty improvisational distortion and bluesy bottle neck slide. Husick and Westgate complimented with heavy rhythms and delicate harmonies. Red Gretchen's set was an innovative, mind-bending rock experiment filled with contradictions and possibilities, a uniquely creative and sometimes jarring mix of 1960s acid rock and 1990s grunge and shoegaze that culminated in futuristic trance.