White Iron Band @ Pizza Luce

The White Iron Band

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

The White Iron Band released their fifth CD, 3rd Rate Country Stars, at Pizza Luce’ this past Saturday.

There are certain bands that are just all around fun, and the White Iron Band are one of those bands. Originally from the Iron Range city of Ely, the band came together about ten years ago. Matt Pudas, Sammy Weyandt, and Eddie Juntunen are founding members, while Matt Walvatne, Jeff Underhill, and John Moline have been added through the years.

With a country sound and plenty of smiles they embody what good music is supposed to sound and look like.

“We kinda just like to switch it up, and go with just whatever we’re feeling,” Pudas said. “Our live show will always be similar to what you saw the other night at Luce’, but with each CD we try give it its own sound. This is the most country styled CD we’ve made, while the last one was more of a storyline themed album. This one has a lot of old songs too, and some new ones.”

The show at Pizza Luce’ was typical of WIB in that there were patchwork covered fans ready to unleash their twirling and swilling of PBR. The “stringers,” as I first heard them referred to about 6 years ago at the NorShor, were being passed around all night.

The band itself seemed much more tamed than when I first saw them pack the house at the Tap Room years ago. Back then when Pudas sang, “Drunk In Duluth,” he was literally in the bag. He even had some trouble with the bathroom stalls, which is referred to in the catchy song. Fans handed him whiskey shots after he left the stage and during my first interview he passed one off to me. I took it, but he took several. At the Luce’ show last Saturday they played the song as the last of the night. Pudas said it was a hyphenated version, with an emphasis on the “Drunk in Duluth” chorus.

Whenever it is cold out I can still hear the opening lyrics, “Well the wind blows cold off the lake at night, and it chills my back to the bone.”

WIB are more country than Americana now-a-days, and their music is crisp and well written. Where their sound years ago was a bit jamish, today it is all professional. The solos that Weyandt plays on guitar are fine tuned to get the crowd moving and cheering, and the band had a very tight sound all evening.

“We have gotten older, so we don’t go crazy,” Pudas said. “We do whatever we can to keep the ball rolling. We do it because we have a lot of fun, it’s a good time, and we enjoy doing it.”

One standout tune that the band played ran through Willie Nelson’s hits and was kind of an homage to him. It was great to hear the hits of Nelson, but in a new and inventive way of songwriting. Pudas said the name of the song was, “Willie Nelson You Ruined My Life.”

“We’ve been playing that song for about 4 years now and it appeared on our live album. Now it is on the new CD as a studio recorded version.”

It’s difficult to write an article about attending a live show and not talk about the audience. While I don’t want to be hated or shunned from Luce, I can’t help but to talk about the rudeness of a few patrons who acted as if they owned the bar.

The main culprits were two female patrons who shoved their way up front via someJersey Shore fist-pumping. It was annoying and I was just waiting to be socked as they fisted their way up front. In my mind I imagined one of the girls was from Jersey and wanted to show some love for greasy, over-tanned losers, but she was probably just from here…. awe, I shouldn’t put this area down like that. But she was even sporting a Britney Spears trucker cap at one point, and her male companion in their group was picking fights as he shoved into anyone in his tipsy-swirly path.

Hey, it’s Luce’, you have to put up with some stuff just for the ambience. For $7 it was a great show and I managed to watch my wallet empty while being thoroughly entertained.

“It can get dangerous,” Pudas said. “We plan on playing all over in the summer and we try to do a lot of festivals, a lotta outdoor gigs. We are playing Sturgis this summer at the famous Buffalo Chip campground, which is pretty crazy. Throughout the summer we also have a few mini tours going through Sioux Falls, Indiana, and some other places.”

To listen or purchase their new CD go to www.whiteironband.com.