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David Wax Museum, by now a Boston-based favorite, took World Cafe in Philadelphia by its horns last night as one of the main acts at NonCommvention, the annual celebration of the power of public radio. Founding members David Wax and Sue Slezak brought their signature Mexo-Americana sound to the stage along with frequent collaborators and killer brass section Jordan Wax (David’s cousin), Greg Glassman, Mike Roberts, and Jiro Kokubu. The group came with their biggest smiles, best material, and a genuinely thoughtful thank you to the public radio community for their support throughout the years.
“We couldn’t have made most of the music we have without the support of everyone,” David Wax smiled midway through the set, which featured highlights from all four of their albums, primarily 2012’s Knock Knock Get Up. Slezak was quick to jump in, noting how they’d sold out shows in three new cities in the past several weeks, and the audience came knowing all the words to their songs.
“That’s because of radio!” she laughed, picking up the donkey jawbone the Museum is known to use as an unconventional percussion instrument in several tracks. Hits like “Will You Still Be Sleeping?” and “Born With a Broken Heart” were peppered between new tracks like “Yes, Maria, Yes” and “Jenny”. Since their beginnings on the streets of Cambridge back in 2008 after meeting on Harvard campus, David Wax Museum has self-released four full-length albums and have become critical darlings, being dubbed the Best of Boston by The Improper Bostonian in 2010 and and have played the festival circuit several times over.
No critic, no matter how enthralled, can do justice to the enormous bounty of energy this group has to offer in a live setting. David Wax’s infectious smile and voice permeate a room along with Slezak’s harmonies make it impossible not to dance and sing along, especially when accompanied by the trumpet and trombones accompanying. Slezak switched between the donkey jaw, fiddle, and accordion throughout the set, helping to shape the distinctive folky sound that has rocked Boston for years.
The Museum finished their set by engaging the audience, as their charm is wont to do, and everyone was more than happy to oblige. Knock Knock track “Harder Before It Gets Easier” closed the show with the crowd crooning along to the titular chorus before closing with a hearty thank you. The band could be spotted for the remainder of the night cheering on other NonComm performers and engaging with the audience. David Wax Museum was easily one of the favorite acts of the night, and they’re sure to press forward with an equal amount of joy and magnificent energy