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Wild Nothing, the brain child of Virginia’s Jack Tatum, has been to Chicago before but this is the first time he’s come with a secured headlining gig. Tatum more than deserves all acclaim considering the strong release of 2010’s Gemini. He’s only claiming his natural spot in an indie rock kingdom meant for blissful pop music. For, Wild Nothing is an appropriate band name, not because the music disintegrates with a reckless abandon, though one might see Tatum pursuing that direction in the future. Instead, the title suggests a sweet reverie like a piece of chocolate that melts in your mouth. Gone forever, sure, but it’s the kind of thing a longer of lush treats truly appreciates.
Everything was set up for Wild Nothing to be a success Friday night. The band is touring with Los Angeles four piece Abe Vigoda who succeeded in getting the audience into the spirit of the evening with some of their avid body motions actually causing a front row mosh pit. The sold out fans kept coming and packing the room for both bands but especially Wild Nothing and the audience was more than eager to hear songs observation showed they’d memorized by the time the band took the stage.
Surprisingly, considering their stellar performance at The Vic Theater less than a year ago, it seemed to take some time for Tatum to gain momentum with his band mates as well as achieve a perfectly harmonious balance in sound. Tatum’s delicious voice fills his songs best when enriched with reverb and this wasn’t emphasized until the middle of his hour long set. His guitar playing fell into a melodic embrace with the second guitar player to his right, however, the bass playing to his left seemed slightly out of sync at first or just a little too audible over the guitar rifts. It’s a shame that one of their best songs, “Live in Dreams” came so early in the set considering these initial troubles.
By the middle of the set, Tatum gracefully ventured into a fuller understanding of his songs and his back up band felt more cohesive between the second guitarist, bassist, and drummer. The impetus started to feel right around “My Angel Lonely” and continued with highlights such as: “Gemini” “Chinatown,” and “Summer Vacation” which might be merely bursting with feelings of longing if they weren’t so extremely catchy at times.
All the while, Tatum’s demeanor suggested he was modest and thankful for the crowd love but would much rather play music than divulge insight into his creations or his personality outside of the songs. This seemed fine with the audience, however, who showed just as much vivid amour for the tracks as they did themselves. By the grand finale, “Bored Games,” which might be 2010’s pinnacle song to make-out to, fans were gliding around each other as if to consummate a grand love affair, or at the very least one they’d remember with fondness the next morning.
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