In the past two, short years Philly, and PHILTHY, has seen Austin, TX’s Wild Child rise up through the ranks of the hierarchy of the city’s venues. When we first met them, in October of 2013, they were preparing for a show at the long-antiquated and geographically detached (although admittedly still very fun-to-frequent) North Star Bar. Since then they’ve played prime headlining slots at Johnny Brenda’s, including a well-in-advance sold out show this January (Read my most recent chat with vocalist and baritone ukulele player Alexander Beggins.) Well, this Saturday, 11/14, Wild Child has their biggest Philly show yet at up-to-1,300-capacity Union Transfer (Which is more than twice the size of the North Star and Johnny Brenda’s combined.)
Since their last trip to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, the 7-piece indie pop outfit has released their third LP, Fools, which dropped last month, courtesy of Dualtone Records. The album is both the band’s most accomplished and eclectic to date. While the band first began resembling a folk pop outfit of sorts, likely largely due to the baritone ukulele and violin responsible for much of the instrumentation, Fools displays a wide variety of tastes, from the incredibly classically soulful (“Take It”) to profoundly poignant piano pop balladry (“Stones”) and a brand of indie pop with a degree of quirk worthy of a mumblecore soundtrack (“Stones”).
And while nearly all of the tracks of Fools are undeniably uplifting, it is actually a breakup album through and through, looking, with a sense of humor, at our existential tragedies from the perspective of our optimistically naïve intellectual shortcomings. On the band’s latest press release Kelsey Wilson, violinist, co-songwriter, and Alexander’s musical partner in crime, admits, “The instruments may belong in a granola commercial, but what we’re saying is often dark and angry and bitter… It wasn’t until Alexander and I started writing music together that we were like, ‘Damn. Are we sad?’”
Like the sounds that spew from their records, Wild Child live (as the name should really already suggest) are far from celebrations of the somber or exercises in self-pity (Their latest songs after all, are self-acknowledged celebrations of human folly.) Likely indebted to the Americana influence of their roots, Wild Child’s live shows are raucously festive celebrations of the most common, but also influential, of human emotions, something that could be found at honky-tonk or a living room show, but with the expertise in both craft and performance that warrant a far larger audience. And while most of my fellow bloggers are likely far more excited about hyper-hyped postmodern chanteuse Grimes’ performance later this very same Saturday night at the very same Union Transfer, I’m guessing Wild Child’s earlier, 7pm, show will be the best emotional release available to concertgoers of the 215 this weekend.