By Susanna Kemp
Photos by Christian Wade
Nov 9, 2018
Nostalgia swept through Thalia Hall on Friday night when pop rock band Wild Nothing took the stage. “Throwback! Throwback!” one man shouted when the band began to play “Golden Haze,” from their 2010 EP. Wild Nothing played only a selection of songs from their newest album, “Indigo,” sticking to songs their audience was more familiar with.
The show opened with a set by Men I Trust, a Montreal-based indie pop band. The band’s vocalist, Emma, sang in a raspy whisper, a stark difference from the pleasing, whispery voice on the band’s recorded music. Bassist Jessy carried the performance. He shined on “Lauren,” the band’s 2016 single that has a catchy, twangy bass line.
After waiting a long time between sets, the crowd cheered when singer and guitarist Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing walked on stage. Although Tatum kept the higher part of his range mostly under wraps, he displayed his impressive range in the band’s opener, “Nocturne,” a question-and-answer song. “You wanna know me?” Tatum sang in his falsetto before dropping a couple octaves with the line “I know where to find you.”
The show picked up with “Partners in Motion” when keyboardist Matthew Kallman took his hands off the keys and started playing the saxophone. Kallman is tall and skinny and wore a simple white tank top that made him easy to miss when he was playing keyboard.
“Partners in Motion” was just a tease of Kallman’s abilities, which aren’t displayed on Wild Nothing’s recordings — Tatum does them solo. During “Whenever I,” Kallman’s saxophone playing was so subtle that at first, I thought the saxophone was a woman’s voice. But throughout the song, he gained momentum, climaxing with a strong solo. The crowd went wild for Kallman and cheered when he picked up his saxophone again during “Paradise” and “A Dancing Shell.”
Toward the end of their performance, the band played “Summer Holiday,” a song from Wild Nothing’s first album, “Gemini,” which Tatum introduced by telling the crowd that the band had friends from their days at Virginia Tech in the audience that night. “They’ve been hearing this song before any of it mattered at all,” Tatum said.