Wild Nothing // "A Dancing Shell" (OFFICIAL SINGLE)

Living in the mountainous urban sprawl that is Denver affords some of the staff here at TMN the chance to see an amazing live show, on any given night of the week, at any number of sonically intoxicating venues throughout the Mile High City. On a blustery Tuesday night at perhaps the most intimate music room in the state, The Larimer Lounge, we had the fortuitous opportunity to revel in the anglophilic, shoegazey dream-pop that is Jack Tatum and his bedroom project turned critically acclaimed headlining act, Wild Nothing. A certain vivacity filled the small room and adjoining bar, radiating an energy that I hadn’t felt since seeing buzz-bands in the early 2000’s like The Futureheads, Okkervil River and Rogue Wave before the blogosphere world really took hold and so directly told us what was in or who is talented. The live music climate then was more focused on the reception surrounding a band’s newest EP, rather than a spread they recently did with “X” online publication of the month, and that era felt well represented. For both openers, the 20-something year-old dominated crowd would flock to the show floor as soon as any sort of live music began to erupt out of those dingy monitors – including the Larimer Lounge’s consistently give-and-take sound checks – leaving the smoking areas and bars almost barren and a blissfully jam-packed main room, which I am sure would have been a treat to perform for. Wild Nothing’s weekday performance contained one of the most musically unified crowds we had seen in some time, marking a totally refreshing return to concert attending.

Washington, DC’s U.S.Royalty – who featured as main support for Wild Nothing sporting the increasingly popular visual aesthetic of long, untamed black hair coupled with leather jackets on a pair of skinny jeans – succeeded in keeping an air of musical integrity with a form of anthemic indie-pop and rock. No doubt these four are all savvy musicians who are making good use of the tour to continue developing their on-stage chemistry and stage presence, but like most freshly touring outfits lacked a slice of said performance qualities spending much of the first half of the set arguing with the sound controller trying to get their music to come through as it should. After an energetic, but slightly abbreviated set from 10:00 to 10:50, and another quick and irritating sound check, alas it was the time for Wild Nothing.

It’s revitalizing in our current era of pre-planned “band looks”, guy-liner and choreographed stage moves to see a group with so much clout behind them based solely on their sultry brand of dream-pop and not because of their larger-than-life marketing team. The four-piece looked like any other alternative college band we’d seen open for our indie flavor-of-the-week, but once Jack Tatum’s brittle guitar began producing the high, opening chords of the title track off of their critically acclaimed 2012 jaunt Nocturne, it was unlike any other show we had been a part of. It’s called “Dream-Pop” for a reason; the same reason ‘Trance’ earned it’s dubious name, for locking its listener in a state of pure contention while blocking out any external stimuli other than what you are hearing. That and a whole bunch of reverb, but that is neither here nor there. Wild Nothing’s hour-and-a-half long set was mostly a sampling of Nocturne’s most stirring tunes like “Paradise”, “Only Heather”, “This Chain Won’t Break” and a moving, fifteen minute rendition of this writer’s favorite Wild Nothing composition “Shadow” as well as a few cuts from their latest Empty Estate EP including “Ride”. The band translates from their recorded songs to a live performance, although those soaring lead guitar licks -especially the driving riff on “Counting Days” – was muddled tremendously through those old PA’s leaving mostly a rhythm guitar, bass, drums and vocals to carry the melodies. Not that it was the most noticeable mishap in the world, but it just left some of their work feeling like it contained about half as much emotional range. Of course though, it was a lovely way to spend our Tuesday evening, and we’re sure most likely next time that while we might not experience as quaint and personal a venue as Larimer Lounge, the next time they are here will be at a spacious hall with the right equipment to support Wild Nothing’s amazing sound. If you live in the contiguous U.S. don’t miss your chance to see them live on the last few legs of their live tour throughout the Fall.

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