Although I’m generally regarded as equal parts Gloomy Gus and Debbie Downer, I’d like to think that the coverage I do for PHILTHY MAG showcases that there are, indeed, a rather large handful of musicians that I feel a sincere affinity and affection for… And I do actually enjoy when good things happen for people I consider to be sweet and talented… even though it may be a bit rare that profoundly big things happen for my favorite artists… However Austin’s Wild Child are currently enjoying quite significant spoils, on a US tour that has them headlining mega-rooms likes DC’s 9:30 Club and SF’s Great American Music Hall.
I first met Wild Child in October of 2013. The band had just released their sophomore effort, The Runaround, and they were preparing to play our hyper-lovely, but even-more-hyper-antiquated North Star Bar (Which is as much fun to attend as it is not the venue you hope to host the current talent that you’re championing…) I spoke with vocalist and baritone ukulele player Alexander Beggins, who told me about the band’s then recent evolution from a duo, comprised of himself and violinist/vocalist Kelsey Wilson, to a full-blown, six-piece, indie rock band that was being produced by Ben Kweller and kicking out indie pop jams that ring of a jazz, folk, and twee alike.
Unfortunately, I missed Wild Child’s appearance at the North Star and subsequent stop at Johnny Brenda’s last spring, but they’re returning to the highest-class dive in Fishtown (Johnny Brenda’s) this Friday, January 16th, for one of the most intimate stops on their current tour. And I got a chance to catch up with Alexander Beggins, as he took a break from a recent Wild Child rehearsal. I ask Beggins what have been the highlights of the band since releasing The Runaround, nearly a year and a half ago, and he laughs and tells me that the band’s recent trip to Europe really revived their love of that material: “Interestingly enough, we were just in Europe and the album was just released there, so songs that were old and dead to us, because we’d been playing them every night, had a rebirth of sorts.” He also tells me that the actual responses of audiences have been something that really inspire Wild Child and validate what they’re doing: “It’s always a trip to see someone singing your words back to you. It’s a surreal experience and that’s the kind of thing you want to base a career around.”
Beggins also tells me that as much as the recording of The Runaround represented a new period in Wild Child’s career, that the touring and promoting of the album since October of 2013 has had just as big of an impact on their evolution as a band: “Since The Runaround this has become all of our full-time jobs and we’re more like a family. It’s more collaborative and we’re not afraid to fight or voice our opinion to each other, whereas the first time around we were a bit hesitant, but we’ve already been across the US together, so it’s more comfortable.” He tells me that the band has just finished mixing their third album and, while they’re quite excited about that, they’re also very into playing shows and bringing people together in a live setting and that at their stop at Johnny Brenda’s this Friday the audience can expect to not only be impressed by, but take part in, the experience: “Modern musicians just have to always be touring when they’re not making new material and we always try to bring the fun atmosphere and a lot of crowd participation. Growing up, all of our favorite concert experiences all had to do with crowd participation, so we want to bring that element, whether it be handing out kazoos or getting a gang chant going.”