Wicked Willy

Freakin' Frog, Jan. 6

There are only two things I ask of bands in this town—no sitting down and no hats. Folk-rockers Wicked Willy broke both of my rules yet still managed to put on an entertaining show. The quartet is led by the handsome, athletic singer/songwriter Daimon Williams, who looks like he should be surfing Malibu waves instead of strumming an acoustic guitar in Las Vegas. His originals—the bluesy “Black Roads” and the moody, anthemic “Closer”—are as good as anything in the alt-country (Ryan Adams) and surf-folk (Jack Johnson) subgenres. But the quiet, coffeehouse arrangements—more than competently executed by Williams’ (electric) bassist and cellist—didn’t do his material justice. A drummer and lead guitarist are badly needed. The covers, “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Going to California,” were passionately rendered and refreshingly loud. Still, it feels odd to give a standing ovation to a seated band, even in this comfy, laid-back bar. ★★★☆☆

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