• Valerie Paulsgrove

I think I knew what to expect when I saw Dustin Wong—former guitarist for defunct Baltimore art-rockers Ponytail—play at the Empty Bottle at the end of March. His recent solo full-length, Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads, is a meticulously calculated barrage of looped guitar lines run through a semicircle of pedals. It’s intricate and brilliant and showcases the art-rock guitar wunderkind’s colorful sensibility for strange, fractured melodies.

Because the concert wasn’t incredibly well attended, I was able to park myself front and center, so that Wong’s nine different simultaneous riffs surrounded me completely. I’m not going to get all existential and in-the-clouds and tell you it was an “experience,” but Wong left everyone who’d gotten out of the house for his show that Wednesday night in a stupefied daze, having shredded his trusty Telecaster to pieces.

When performing live, Wong begins each song at its root and gently adds new layers of guitar until it reaches its climax. Today’s 12 O’Clock Track and the longest (and best) song on Dreams Say, “Toe Tore Oh” is six-plus minutes of noodling that eventually blows up into a sprinting melody, backed by a basslike guitar line. It’s vibrant and weird and difficult to follow, which is everything that makes Dustin Wong great.