Before you even walked through the club door, you could tell that it was going to be a good Friday night at Pianos. Though the front bar had house music pumping out of their speakers, there was no ignoring the powerhouse sound of Charlottesville six-piece soul band, Erin and the Wildfire, coming from the Showroom. Erin and the Wildfire have a full band sound with Matt Wood (bass), Nick Quillen (drums), Ryan Lipps (guitar), Garen Dorsey (saxophone/keys), Austin Patterson (trumpet/vocals), and unforgettable lead vocalist, Erin Lunsford, at the lead.
The hypnotizing sound of Lipps’s guitar and Lunsford’s powerhouse vocals had people streaming into the room over the band’s hour long set. Erin and the Wildfire have an unmistakably funk sound right out of the 70s that has you grooving and moving before you even realize. Lunsford’s Joplin-esque pipes were backed on multiple songs by Quillen, who was practically euphoric while drumming, and Patterson, who actually picked up everything from a guitar to a trumpet. Though they were definitely a big force on a small stage, Erin and the Wildfire owned the room without overpowering it. It truly makes one wonder what they could do with the big stage they’re clearly headed for.
Their set began with original songs like “Alibi” and “Yours Anymore”, before they played a cover of Vulfpeck’s “Back Pocket”. Though Vulfpeck’s influence on the band’s music was clear, Lunsford confirmed that they are huge fans, Michigan natives and were actually attending the final show of their three night run at Brooklyn Steel. Some crowd pleasing original numbers were “Thirsty For Your Love”, “Great Love”, the catchy first single off of their upcoming album, Thirst, and “Go Down Smooth”. The band as a whole was all smiles and laughter the entire set, their palpable love of performing and music bleeding into the audience dispelling any memories of the long work week we’d all just come from.