During the daytime hours, Donkey Coffee is your standard cozy coffee shop, but when the sun sets, it transforms into a platform for musicians such as the alternative-pop group known as Wreck League, who took the stage last Friday night.
Hailing from Dayton, Ohio, Wreck League formed in the latter part of 2018 and have been making music together ever since, with no signs of slowing down.
“Ah, not this question,” sighed keyboard/piano player Alek Zamonski when asked to describe what genre of music he felt Wreck League best fit into. “We decided to classify our latest single as alternative pop.” Zamonski said. “But, with heavy influences from rock and jazz music,” added lead singer and guitarist Maxwell Souders.
These influences are definitely apparent throughout the band's music. Each melodic guitar chord is complemented beautifully by the keystrokes of the piano, giving off a jazz-like impression. However, when paired with the rock-inspired drum rolls of drummer Benjamin Zammarron, and funky riffs from bassist Kieran Harris, it creates a unique sound that is admittedly hard to classify under just one genre.
The clock finally strikes 8 p.m., and the group makes their way to their instruments. The audience is seated in the dimly lit, comfortable back room of Donkey, eagerly awaiting the show to commence.
The band shared some concerns about performing in a smaller venue than they are accustomed to, unsure of how it would go. However, after a short trial and error period, the vocals and bass were adjusted and it was nothing but smooth sailing from then on.
Due to the constraints of the smaller venue, it was clear Souders was holding back a tad on his vocals to not upset the microphone, but his range was still able to be appreciated nonetheless.
For a band that has only been together for less than half a decade, their chemistry is impressive, not only as musicians but as friends as well, exchanging knowing smiles, laughs and jabs between songs.
Each song was well-researched, allowing for the band to have some fun throughout their set, meaning every instrument had its own solo at one point or another, evoking cheers and shouts of encouragement from the audience.
At one point, to the crowd's astonishment, the group did a total 180, with Souders heading over to the piano and Zammaron coming off drums to take up a spot in front of the microphone and performing a song he wrote a while ago, to the tune of “Pure Imagination.” As if this switch-up wasn’t impressive enough, the lead singer jokingly bragged to the spectators that this song was hardly even rehearsed.
This type of rhetorical banter between Souders and the crowd also made the show that much more enjoyable, keeping the mood light and utilizing every second under the spotlight that he could.
Finally, after about an hour and a half performance, the group waved their goodbyes as the lights came back up and the audience’s clapping died down.
When asked about what the future holds for Wreck league, they shared that a new album is in the works and planning to be released sometime this summer. Their latest single, “Postcard,” is not only the band's favorite song they have produced but also a taste of what the upcoming album will sound like Zamonski said.
Whatever comes next for this talented group, they assure us that they are “all in” when it comes to music, which is why we hope to see them back in Athens again soon.