Photographs by Sarah Rix
There’s a sense of familiarity when it comes to Wild Nothing. Formed in 2009, it’s a sound that would fit right at home in a John Hughes movie, or at least as the soundtrack to your road trip. The rock project from Virginia is also no stranger to Toronto, visiting the city on multiple occasions – including multiple performances at NXNE in 2011.
The crowd on hand for their opening set was fairly appreciative of the songs, and it’s clear that founder Jack Tatum knows how to compose. But if there’s a problem, it’s that the band still feels like a solo project: a reflection on how Wild Nothing records. In studio, Tatum is the sole proprietor of the band’s sound. Live, four other musicians join him.
It’s a needed expansion in a concert setting, but it’s a stilted stage presence from the other members who aren’t quite at the level of comfort with the material as Tatum inevitably (and understandably) is. Not to say the band can’t pull off the music – they do. It’s just that there’s no attempt at audience engagement from anyone else. Great to listen to, just not so necessary to watch.