There are people in Columbus who saw The Black Keys and/or John Mayer at Little Brothers, Gary Clark Jr at Woodlands Tavern, twenty-one pilots at Kobo. Now, I’m definitely not saying that someday Welshly Arms will be headlining Nationwide Arena – believe me, I’ve made some pretty far-fetched and foolish predictions in the past – but the Cleveland-based blues-rock band is on track to start reaching much bigger audiences in, dare I say, the very-near future.
After spending the summer opening for NEEDTOBREATHE and playing to large crowds, Welshly Arms returned to Cleveland in November for a headlining show at the House of Blues that I attended. I’m terrible with guestimating crowd sizes but I’d say there were at least 500 people to welcome the band home and it felt more like a national band’s tour stop than a gig for a local band. When I asked a friend of mine if he was going to the show, he said, “No. Ohio already has one Black Keys, that’s all I need” and, to be fair, there are some similarities between the two bands but Welshly Arms contains additional members, including two back-up singers (reminds me of Columbus band Nick Tolford and Company), who fill out the sound.
Whether or not Welshly Arms has built a Columbus following remains to be seen – personally, I think Rumba is a little small for the band – but it wouldn’t be far-fetched to believe that next time they come around, they’ll be able to play to hundreds at The Newport.
Welshly Arms and Nick D and The Believers will be at Rumba Cafe on Friday night. Tickets are $10 in advance (available at Used Kids, Magnolia Thunderpussy, Rumba Cafe, online) or $12 at the door.