Report from the Field: Willie Nile

By Mad Dog
Published: Sep 25, 2009

U2 was playing across the river, but the place to be was Joe’s Pub, where another Irishman and some scarily accomplished pals played an hour-long set that goes right into my Ten Best Ever file. Willie Nile may be physically small, but he’s got a huge rock ‘n roll heart, and it was on full display — he started with power, passion, other-worldly harmonies and an irresistible beat, and then he put his foot on the gas and cranked it up. The Byrds, Dylan, U2, the Clash, and, at the end, the Ramones: this band channeled other greats while never losing focus on Nile’s special gifts. How good was it? A few hundred people screamed themselves hoarse, me happily included.