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Live Review indie dream pop with Wild Nothing at the Shaky Knees Music Festival

31 May 2016 No Comment

Wild Nothing at the Independant by Kristin Cofer

Wild Nothing
Shaky Knees Music Festival
05-14-2016 @ Centennial Olympic Park & International Plaza
Atlanta, Georgia
Review by Lucas Roque
Photos by Kristin Cofer

I normally think of music festivals as long drawn out days on my feet marked with phenomenal sets that usually are pushed into the night capping the day to blend everything into a beautiful experience. Wild Nothing definitely did not fall short of making day 2 at the Shaky Knees Music Fest in Atlanta amazing even though they played in the middle of the blazing hot afternoon. 13 songs and an energetic crowd waiting for a band to make a difference so they don’t have to wait until the evening to see something worthwhile; it’s too easy. Jack Tatum, leader of the indie dream pop band, is joined by: Jeff Haley on bass, Nathan Goodman on lead guitar, Jeremiah Johnson on the drums, and Matt Kallman on keyboard. It’s currently 5:15 and the feedback starts along with an increase in heart beat to mark my excitement.

shakyknees16Tatum along with the band begins the set with “To Know You” off of their new release Life of Pause (2016 Captured Tracks), and boy do they do a stupendous job with this song. The synth driven melodies kick the crowd and clarify that this will not be a boring set to fill the day portion of the festival. Fast hi-hats filled measures, mesmerizing vocalizations, and screaming keys backed by equally brilliant full bodied guitars that leave you begging for more make this song the perfect opener. Even the seasoned music festival veterans standing to the sides of me recognize the immediate talent of this band and were left in shock and awe. Close your mouth sweaty bro-tank cladded frat boy.

Following the powerful opener, the dream pop group continues with the title song off their sophomore release, Nocturne (2012 Captured Tracks). The reverb driven strings kiss the ears of the people around me and drop them into a dreamlike free fall. Me, and everyone else in the stages reach, hit the floor of our trance and are awoken by the alarm clock that is “A Woman’s Wisdom”. The harmonious instruments begin to lure those who are far away closer to Wild Nothing as if it’s the greatest temptation in this world. I look over to the person next to me and we both start swaying involuntarily to the beat as if Jack Tatum’s guitar and voice have each of us on strings.

After this we were all treated to “Lady Blue”. The song left us with a feeling as if we were all thrown into Atlantis and were living in an underwater utopia using the watery, dreamy notes from Goodman’s guitar and Kallman’s synth as the air we breathe. I think my feet are sore at this point since the festival has been occurring for over 6 hours, but my body definitely does not care since these legs are moving without care. Synth and guitar work in harmony once again to push the audience into an elation that has those around me jumping and dancing within the last minute of the Life of Pause track and I will never forget the feeling of the kick drum in the earth beneath us.

Wild Nothing now takes us through a sweet romance displayed through “Only Heather” leaving me, and the excited teenagers around me, in a light daze. Tatum states, “She makes me feel high because I’m in heaven”, and sends that feeling directly into the crowd among me. The intoxicated state described is perfectly displayed in every string plucked, note sung, key pressed, cymbal hit, and foot tap within that moment. We’re only five songs in and this is easily the best live performance I’ve experienced to date.

Following the sweet love song we’re sent on another mental free fall with “TV Queen”. Each chorus the crowd builds energy and tension begging to be released and the five-piece act has some plans in the last chorus when the song erupts and the crowd becomes fiery magma spilling over in pure enjoyment. The heat outside cannot put out our excited spirits, and the exhaustion that is slowly creeping up will not deter the elated souls.

The burst of energy left everyone exhausted and allowed the Captured Tracks artist to relax the crowd with “Paradise” and “Reichpop”. Back into the expertly woven dreamscape Tatum has each body still swaying and conserving energy for something greater. We all are aware there is still something that has yet been released, but only the expert artist in front of us can unlock it.

I have never felt so calm in the burning sun even being as exhausted as I was. “Alien” had each person relaxed, loose as if a tranquilizer was shot into each of us demonstrating the easy flow of the songs structure. “You make me feel like an alien” was chanted throughout the song, and I’m sure the masterful hold of the crowd did have the awkward Virginian feel almost alien. The final notes rang out to make way for an older song that was very welcome.

Photo by Kristin CoferNo place is better for summer styled songs than music festivals in the hotter parts of the year. “Summer Holiday” brought the fun of the beach to the Atlanta crowd as soon as Tatum’s guitar played the opening chord progression. It was as if we were standing back on a Florida beach while the five piece played music to our sunny sand excursion. “You’ve got some charm I must admit”, back at you Wild Nothing.

Slowing down is not something a proper live act will allow their audiences do towards the end of their set. The Virginian act was not going to break this rule of thumb especially with the reaction it’s had so far. Powering through with the two most energetic songs off the new release, “Japanese Alice” and “Life of Pause”, Wild Nothing awakens a new vitality in the crowd that everyone was waiting for. Within the last few strums to the Wild Nothing tunes and I can already feel that excitement boiling in my chest.

Tatum announces that it is their last song, to our dismay, and the crow yells for their Nocturne specialty. As soon as the harmonious synth played the intro to “Shadow” everyone I could see experienced a feeling of levity that will probably never be paralleled. When a band plays their best song live it’s a moment of pure euphoria that topped every other. Never will I forget the beginning riff to “Shadow” backed by the catchy bass line released from Haley’s bass and never will I forget those last few moments in the set where everything came together as one beautiful musical unit. The last 30 seconds of the song were what caused this to be the best live experience I’ve had and what made this the best act at Shaky Knees Music Festival on May 14th.

Wild Nothing is an indie dream pop act from Virginia currently signed to Captured Tracks. They have recently released Life of Pause and may be found on the European leg of their world tour.

Official website: www.wildnothingmusic.com

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