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Detroit rockers Wilson ready to bid fond, loud farewell at the Crofoot
Four years ago Wilson declared its "Right to Rise."
And this week the Detroit rock group will exercise its right to stop.
After nearly 10 years, three studio albums and an EP, and global touring, the quintet will come to an end with a special show on Saturday, Dec. 28, at Pontiac's Crofoot Ballroom. And while a band whose musical mission statement is "Full Blast F***ery" might not seem like the sentimental sort, frontman Chad Nicefield promises there may be a few tears shed during the night.
"This isn't easy," says Nicefield, 36, a Ferndale resident who's also a talent buyer at the Crofoot. "We're kind of sad ... and confused. When you feel lost you kind of feel sad. (Wilson) was very much something you woke up to every single day — good or bad, it was still there, all the time.
"So, yeah, it'll be really sad to wake up and realize, 'I'm not gonna be able to do that today.'"
Nicefield also makes it clear that breaking up the band was not his choice, but he "definitely understands and feels the same way" as his bandmates who now want "to do other life stuff — start a family, buy a house, finish other items on your life's checklist. We're all good friends. We're all in this together."
Wilson was started by guitarist Jason Spencer in East Lansing, with a 2010 EP called "Standing on the Reel." Nicefield wound up joining after booking the first incarnation of the group at the Crofoot.
"I happened to be bartending that night and was like, 'Omigod, you guys were awesome!' That materialized to me trying out and joining the band."
Spending a decade as a "budding" enterprise, Wilson built a small but dedicated following with its hard-hitting and irreverently upbeat albums — "Full Blast F***ery" in 2013, "Right to Rise" in 2015 and last year's "Tasty Nasty." The group toured worldwide as a headliner and opening for Halestorm, Gwar, Steel Panther, Theory of a Deadman and others, as well as festival dates. It charted with singles such as "Right to Rise" and "Like a Baller" and was featured on the cover of U.K. magazine Metal Hammer's 30th anniversary issue.
Wilson never settled in with one record label, however, and cracks began to show in recent years. Spencer actually left the band before "Tasty Nasty" but agreed to help write songs for it.
"He was feeling really down and like, 'I've got to do something else in my life,'" Nicefield recalls. "But when he heard the record he had a change of heart and decided he was going to see it through, so we marched forward."
Wilson did "put everything we had into" promoting "Tasty Nasty" but earlier this year lost guitarist Kyle Landry and continued for a short time as a quartet. Landry is returning for the farewell show.
"We were all in the same sort of mindset — 'This is it. We're gonna go out there and do it!'" Nicefield says. "But we also felt that at the end of the cycle, if we've given everything we can mentally and personally and we're still not where we want to be, we'll bow out gracefully — which is what we've decided to do."
For its farewell show, Wilson — whose members reside in West Bloomfield, St. Clair Shores and Fenton as well as Ferndale — plans to play first in the Crofoot Ballroom and follow with a performance of "Full Blast F***ery" in its entirety in the smaller Pike Room. The group also plans a pre-party for 100 fans in the Vernors Room. The two smaller events are sold out.
Nicefield is already plotting his next musical moves and is even looking at Wilson's vaults for possible future releases. And he's not necessarily convinced that this will be the very last we hear from the band.
"I'm very happy for what Wilson stood for and the way we were able to connect with people. It was genuine and real," Nicefield notes. "I'm not ending my journey here, I know. And I don't think Wilson will ever go away permanently. I'm sure we'll play at something. I can't promise anything, but as long as there's a reason for us to find a place to pop our ugly heads up again in the world there'll be a guiding light back into this situation."
Wilson performs its farewell show on Saturday, Dec. 28, at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors at 6 p.m., tickets $12 advance, $15 at the door. Messenger Birds, Red Stone Souls and Ladysse open. Call 248-858-9333 or visit thecrofoot.com.
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