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Concert Review: The Wrens
by Robert Drucker

The Wrens played their much anticipated 20th anniversary shows December 4 in Hoboken, NJ. For those who haven't been paying attention, The Wrens as a band turned 20 this year and played three sets at Maxwells: an all-request set, the album The Meadowlands in full, and one with an emphasis on "new songs" and this was the set I caught.

The final set proved to be an amazing blend of both old and new and everything in-between. They opened as they are prone to with the everyone-get-on-stage one at a time softer than on the LP version of "This Boy is Exhausted" followed by a few other tunes from The Meadowlands. The band also tore through numerous tracks from their two other albums they've released as a band (a fact they extensively poked fun at themselves for.) The band's sense of humor also was displayed as they acknowledged the fear most members of the audience probably had in signing up for a show where the band would be playing "mainly new songs."

Between almost every song the lovefest for the band was on display, as they never passed up an opportunity to thank their friends, families, loved ones, and romanticize the twenty years that have been The Wrens. Naturally, their performance was top-notch, as well. The show easily exceeded the hour and a half mark, finishing with a total of about 3.5 new songs, all the hits off of The Meadowlands (save "Boys, You Won't"...what gives?) and plenty of gems from Secaucus and Silver. The band even pulled off a once-in-a-lifetime move, calling the audience's bluff and actually PLAYING "Freebird" when inevitably requested.

The Wrens's performance on Friday night was one for the ages. A shining example of a band doing everything a great band does: giving 110%, inviting audience participation to the point where they demanded their fans get on stage, giving away t-shirts, and more. This is the third time I've seen The Wrens, and as is clear when listening to their body of work, they are only getting better with age. I can't wait for the 40th anniversary shows.

For once, all of The Wrens albums (and split EP!) are in print. Do yourselves a favor and get them before they go away again!