Lion and the Wall

Pedro the Lion, Tilly and the Wall and Western States Bean Scene, Mon., Aug. 9

Western States opened the evening and delivered a perfunctory set devoid of color and with barely a reason to become excited. The instrumental passages revealed moments of beauty but were shushed and smothered by the vocalist’s faux-Western drawl.

Then Omaha, Nebraska’s Tilly and the Wall took the stage more like a pep squad than a band, performing an extraordinary set drawn from its album Wild Like Children. Jamie Williams’ tap dancing served as the primary percussion in place of the traditional drummer. The band so expertly toes the line between the disparate worlds of folk and indie rock, it ultimately finds itself laying claim to a unique sound.

Touring behind the strength of the band’s recent album Achilles Heel, Seattle’s Pedro the Lion opened with the melancholic strains of “Criticism as Inspiration,” a beautiful song that illustrates songwriter David Bazan’s skill at crafting lilting, sad vocals. The Bazan-led trio then launched into the harrowing, “Never Leave a Job Half Done,” with its lashing guitar lines hacking against the murderous narrative.

Considering Pedro the Lion’s talent with dynamics, melody and an old-fashioned attention to song writing, it’s no wonder the band’s success has been widely recognized.