Ryley Walker played Brighton Music Hall – 3/14

Prog-folk troubadour Ryley Walker and his band stopped off in Allston during a northeast tour with sibling psych duo Tonstartssbandht earlier this month.

I quite like Ryley Walker’s records. His latest, last year’s Course in Fable, is his best and most ambitious solo effort yet. His reimagining of a mythic shelved Dave Matthews album is a sleeper classic (trust me). His further-out one-offs and collabs (like last year’s Deep Fried Grandeur with Japanese psych luminaries Kikagaku Moyo) are always fascinating. Still, the key to appreciating Walker lies in seeing him live.

Come for the banter, of course – no one on the road these days comes close to his batting average in rattling off bits about Boston hardcore while tuning – but stay for the chops. Joined by an ace backing band of Bill MacKay on guitar, Ryan Jewell on drums and Andrew Scott Young on bass, Walker took an adventurous and freewheeling approach to his songs, stretching out and giving himself and his players the improvised space to shine. The ensemble boldly bridged the jam to indie gulf, proving themselves an evermore essential live act in the process.

Floridian brothers Andy and Edwin White of Tonstartssbandht opened the night with a set of lush and radiant psych-pop. The band unfortunately had to drop off the remaining tour dates beyond Boston due to a Covid case, but I was glad to catch them at the BMH show.

Scroll below for galleries of both bands.