Ted Z and the Wranglers
Denim jeans, leather boots, and cowboy hats were the wardrobe dejour for the cowpokes inside the Wayfarer on Saturday as Ted Z and The Wranglers brought their distinct brand of outlaw rock to Orange County for the release of their new album, and first label release, Ghost Train, via Rip Cat Records.
Los Angeles natives Hudson opened the show, galvanizing the mood for the rest of the night by haughtily stomping through their set of hard hitting classic rock inspired anthems, which included a charged cover version of “Rock n Roll” by Led Zeppelin. Next in line was OC veterans Billy Kernkamp and the Brides, who played an intimate batch of folk-infused country ballads to a room that was quickly getting packed like whiskey soaked sardines. At last, the main attraction took the stage and The Wayfarer quickly turned into a raucous jubilee akin to a southern barn dance.
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Immediately into their set, Ted and his boys had the audience entranced. His grizzled appearance was an appropriate vehicle for the smokey booze-stained voice that emanated when he sang, marked with full sleeve tattoos and a thick black beard that hovered over his ripped open collared shirt. There was a call and response for every song, as Ted growled into the microphone and the audience promptly yelled back. Bassist Dan Mages held down the low end, dressed in a fur vest and a black hat sitting atop his long straw-like hair. Half of the set was spattered with lead guitarist Jackson Leverone’s ripping chicken picking solos.
The set-list had a healthy dose of material from their new album, Ghost Train, including “Kansas” and “Joseph Ratcliff.” Most of their songs are fictional stories based around life experiences, according to Ted. “I just try and input myself into a character I create for the purpose of a song and do my best to become the story. Sometimes it works out, and other times it fails miserably.”
The band announced the final song of their set, but the audience wouldn’t let them off without playing a few more. After letting the unruly mob on the dance floor chant for an encore for a few minutes, the band picked their instruments back up and satiated them with a final bang of frenzy inducing hootenanny tunes. One things for sure, Orange County inhabitants don’t have to travel far to get a piece of the south. Just catch Ted Z and the Wranglers next time they're in your town.
To listen to Ted Z and the Wranglers, check for upcoming shows or to pick up your own copy of ‘Ghost Train’, visit the bands website at: