As their first show as a duo was coming to a close, Matt Wilson turned to his brother Dan and sheepishly said, "I want to do everything slowly, so this lasts a really long time." It was one of many endearing moments that were sprinkled throughout their performance at the Pantages on Friday night, in a night that was just as much about between-song banter and lighthearted jabs as it was about the songs written by the talented pair.
The Wilsons did a fantastic job of putting together a set list that covered all of their solo and collaborative projects (Dan's solo project and Semisonic, Matt's Twilight Hours, and their first band together, Trip Shakespeare), as well as a couple of covers and a new song that the pair wrote together called "Anymore."
Photos by Stacy Schwartz
As soon as the brothers started to play together, it was obvious that the evening would be special; the two play off one another with an ease and chemistry of lifelong friends, and their voices are so well matched that their harmonies were downright chilling. On many of the songs, like the Semisonic tune "Never You Mind," the brothers would take turns singing the melodies, playing a trick on the listener's ear by swapping out the more familiar voice for one that sounded eerily similar but not quite right, adding a fresh, explorative feel to the old songs.
Even a false start on Dan's first attempt to sing "Hello Stranger" was charming, as he forgot the words mid-verse and gave up, shaking his head. "Matt and I have been unearthing our whole history," he said, "and other songs have been tilled underneath."
"I'm so glad this happened to you and not me," Matt said, laughing.
The crowd seemed especially excited about hearing Trip Shakespeare tunes, and people in the audience would yell out song titles with increasing urgency throughout their two sets. With so many songs to choose from, the sheer anticipation of what would come next in the set list gave the show a palpable momentum, which culminated with the whole crowd standing up and clapping along to one of their more popular Shakespeare songs, "Tool Master of Brainerd."
For the full set list, check out the photo below (with the only adjustment being when "Hello Stranger" was moved to the second set), complete with a cover of the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby" that Matt introduced as being "one of the greatest songs ever written.