Wild Nothing take you to church
By Therese Schultz
One would not generally equate a church atmosphere with words like dreamy or hazy, but with Wild Nothing in the house at Central United on Wednesday for the opening day of Sled Island 2011 the sounds of their brand of feather-light eighties inspired indie-pop filled their eager crowd of roughly 350 with luscious synthesizer dreamscapes and dreamy ocean views. Finding their way out of Blacksburg Virginia, Wild Nothing’s ambitious album Gemini released last year was one of those albums on the eighties revival list, mainly because it brings to mind bands that formerly defined that era: The Talking Heads, Simple Minds and even at times hints of Depeche Mode. Gemini framed most of this show on Day 1. Though I am not sure Wild Nothing was expecting such a turn out, most of their fans were already present throughout the opening act Faux Fur, anticipating Wild Nothing’s psychedelic soft-pop. Jack Tatum, lead singer of Wild Nothing steered his band through a number of songs off of the album with a quiet confidence, starting with the tween fantasy single “Live in Dreams”. The small venue provided a fantastic space for wave-like synth and catchy guitar-driven melodies; the filled quickly with guests crowding the doors attempting to find space to take in Tatum’s haunting vocals.
Compared to his EP Golden Haze, Gemini as an album is grittier and ominous as it deals with getting yourself caught up with love, losing love and losing yourself. Despite the rather despondent nature of Tatum’s song “Gemini” the persistence of his instrumentals did not cease to fill the church hall with a mesmerizing blend of silhouetted melodies and soft keyboard, the crowd was compelled by the small band’s absolute emotional quality. At times Tatum’s songs blended so eloquently that it was as though all of us were transported through an infinite time space, there was a longing for those we’ve left behind, lovers we missed and teenage fantasies that were never fulfilled because we had gotten old. Wild Nothing is certainly a band that you can jam too though most of the crowd was engaged in close listening, with “Summer Holiday”, every small melodic change created a beautiful echo in the absolute heights of the hall, and every head was staring forward at attention. Central United became an intimate space for the crowd to relinquish angsty teen memories and absorb every small musical detail because Wild Nothing wasted no time choosing songs to create an ethereal atmosphere. If there is one thing that Tatum and his band excel at, it’s capturing their crowd; they are masters of creating a mood. The band did not have much time to interact with its audience, so it spend the majority of its time playing songs like “Our Composition Book” that kept Tatum up close and personal with his audience via his lyrics. If you want to spend a little time being mesmerized, getting lost and caught up in the music, Wild Nothing is one of those acts that you do not want to miss.