Dalton Wayne & the Warmadillos lit up the stage opening for country singer Koe Wetzel on Thursday night at The Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge.
The Baton Rouge based band captivated the audience with its eclectic style, alternating between classic rock and alt country inspired guitar riffs. Each song was topped off with the twangy vocals of frontman Dalton Wayne, and the audience was more than happy to try and sing along to the original tracks.
Dalton Wayne & the Warmadillos is fairly new to the Baton Rouge music scene — they formed just a year and a half ago— but since then, they’ve made their impact known.
The four-person group was formed in April 2018 around Wayne. He had a few original songs he wanted to flesh out and the band grew bit by bit. Before long, everything settled into place — Joey Holaway on lead guitar, Mark Dupont on drums and Jonathan Tillman on bass.
Each member brings a wildly varied set of inspirations and skills to Warmadillos, resulting in a sound that spans genres. Alt country is the closest thing to a label the band has found, but they have no issue with the lack of definition.
“I like to say we’re too country for rock and roll, too rock and roll for country,” Wayne said. “We’re just an eclectic mix.”
Holaway simply defined the band as genrefluid (a term still awaiting its official copyright), but it’s no surprise considering the long list of influences the band cited. Inspiration included everything from Garth Brooks to Metallica to Kayne West, and a couple of the band members weren’t even interested in country for most of their lives.
“I was raised on rock and roll for the most part,” Wayne said. “I was into heavy metal — I played in a punk rock band a few times, and then I started playing acoustic again and found my niche.”
This melting pot of styles and willingness to experiment with sound has become a trademark of the band, but the name is without a doubt what hooks audiences initially.
The term “Warmadillos” comes from a story involving Wayne and his stepbrother. The pair were doing what they could for entertainment in rural Livingston Parish — drinking some beer and lighting things on fire — and they left a couple of Modelos in the sun.
Wayne’s stepbrother asked him for one of those warm Modelos, and after a couple uses he began blending the two words together. There was a eureka moment, and “Warmadillo” was born. Several years down the line, it finally found its use.
The band has brought its creation and their sound all around Baton Rouge through local shows, but their next step is to make their music accessible to everyone. Dalton Wayne & the Warmadillos plan to release their first studio album on Oct. 9, with a release party at Brickyard South on Oct. 11. The album will be available to stream everywhere.
In January, the band plans to join Carter Patrick and the Telegraph Salesmen for a tour through Texas, but they have no intention of abandoning local shows in the meantime. To stay updated on their schedule and releases, follow @warmadillos on Instagram and @warmadillomusic on Twitter.