The Rise of Koe

I recently tweeted that I hadn’t seen a young band blow this scene up quite like the Koe Wetzel crew is currently since Josh Abbott Band circa 2008ish. That caused me to receive quite a few DM’s and messages asking me why.  Everyone had noticed, but nobody knew why.  Some had listened to the songs and didn’t “get it”. One fellow writer even remarked to me that he was just happy to see the younger crowd excited about a live band that didn’t involve molly and laptops.

And that’s when the answer hit me.  Koe Wetzel has caught fire because his attitude.  It’s a give no shits or apologies rockstar demeanor that owes as much to hip-hop braggadocio as it does Cross Canadian Ragweed. Culture is driven by youth and right now (for better or worse), in Texas,  Koe Wetzel is at the steering wheel. These are not songs you must think about.  He’s been able to take the Casey Donahew aesthetic a step further.

We’ve jumped from Johnson County trailerpark meth-head celebrations to flatbilled Power Strokers with ego. Pat Green sang about Lone Star Beer in his cereal…and Koe Wetzel sings about needing to find someone sober enough to drive him to Taco Bell.  Timeless themes delivered with unapologetic and unvarnished attitude.  It’s not for everyone and they don’t make any attempts to appeal to all.  This is music for kids 16-24. Bob Seger made it sound poetic. Koe Wetzel just makes it sound rowdy.


One doesn’t go from 0 plays on Spotify to half a million in three months without a cause.  And what I’ve outlined above is the best reason I can find.  Attitude and relatability.  This is an artist that’s captured a youthful zeitgeist. It’s not deep.  It’s not trying to win a Grammy or Americana award.  It’s not even really aimed for the radio.  It’s just loud, brash and full of simple, sing along hooks

Will it last or will it fade away once the current fans grow up? Time will tell.  But for now it’s Koe Wetzel’s moment.

Brad Beheler

Raised in Waco, refined in the Hill Country, escaped from DFW. I've worked in just about every facet of the music business for 20 years. I like to write about it all. e-mail Brad Editor-in-Chief

4 thoughts on “The Rise of Koe

  • May 15, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    I agree with everything written except “This is music for kids 16-24″…I’m 46 and they were by far my biggest pleasant surprise at LJT this year. The Noise Complaint CD hasn’t stopped playing in my car since then.

  • May 15, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    I’m 43 and Koe is playing non-stop on my back porch on the weekends.

  • May 16, 2017 at 2:04 am

    I’ve spent 37 years mixing bands live. I mixed the Whiskey Girl Saloon for two and a half years, and remember Joe’s first full band show, double digits attendence. And It was my pleasure and privilege, to mix Koe Wetzel and the Konvicts,and it is not just Koe, it’s the whole band, at thier last show at Whiskey Girl Saloon and LJT2017. In 37 years I’ve worked maybe a dozen shows,that was like the Whiskey Girl Show, the stage presence, the energy, the crowd spontaneously singing the chorus, louder than the PA. And mix average 105db at the booth. The only way I can describe it was Take a Burden Bros/ Toadies show, and mash it up with Skynyrd, with a dash of Mosh pit. Well, and LJT2017, lol, well I like to look at it from this angle, The Who,went on before Jimi Hendrix at Monterey Pop Fest. Koe and the boys opened the show Wednesday, and they killed it. I was floating on cloud 9, still am.And hey folks I’m 54 years old.

  • Pingback: Koe Wetzel – Harold Saul High | Galleywinter

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