Words by Dustin Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Photography by Michael Schaffer (email@example.com)
On Saturday, November 28 Austin band Wild Child thawed a cold and wet Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater with warm sounds and phenomenal energy. Returning home from a two-month tour in support of their recent album release, Fools, they performed an almost two-hour set that further reinforced their place atop the Austin music scene.
It became apparent early on that the band was stoked to reunite with their hometown fans and perform at one of Austin’s crown jewels – and if they were road weary it sure didn’t show. Despite less than stellar weather, Wild Child rewarded one of its largest audiences to date with a set spanning their entire catalog.
In a digital-filled world, it’s refreshing to see a band that doesn’t lean heavily on electronic effects. With little more than their hands and a few instruments, the musicians simply stepped out onto the stage and created the luscious folk-pop for which they are known. The crowd was constantly greeted with new sounds as the band drew from the versatile palette of instruments at their fingertips. Between the raucous trumpet calls, the playful baritone ukulele and banjo, the rich violin and cello, the occasional harmonica solo, and the solid drum-bass-piano backdrop, it was like an amusement park for music appreciators. This sonic roller coaster was filled with deep-rooted grooves, solid harmonic backbones, and towering melodies that took fans on a ride they would not soon forget.
Throughout the show the band would urge the crowd to bellow together with one great voice “I feel good!” – as if willing the good vibes from above to come down and engulf the venue. Equipped with that energy, the show was littered with upbeat numbers, such as the tune “Crazy Bird,” which spawned crowd-wide dance parties. Those high-energy moments were contrasted with softer, tender songs from deep within the band's extensive repertoire. One of the more subtle highlights was “Break Bones” which featured vocalist Kelsey Wilson singing with piano accompaniment – there’s such raw emotion behind that song.
Wild Child is a group of really talented musicians that are passionate about performing for their fans. Between their songwriting, multi-instrument virtuosity, and showmanship, the band elegantly showcased its inspired craft in this live setting. Wild Child is at the top of their game.
Wild Child has upcoming shows in Houston (Dec 10), Dallas (Dec 11), and San Antonio (Dec 12).
Friends and fellow Austin band The Deer set the stage and rewarded fans who arrived early with a killer performance. These two bands were a perfectly packaged pair, with The Deer also sporting several string instruments (including an upright bass) and playing sophisticated tunes with an Americana feel.
Switching between guitar and keys, lead singer Grace Park serenaded the crowd with soaring melodies – her voice at times feeling like a tip of the hat to Emmylou Harris. Equally impressive was the fantastic Telecaster work provided by lead guitarist Michael McLeod. Their set also featured several guest musicians including backup singers, a fiddle/mandolin player, and Austinite Roger Sellers.
The Deer are the real deal, another in a long line of talented bands that hail from Austin. Be sure to check out their latest single, “Do Return.” Described by the band as “an ornately layered, post-apocalyptic exploration of expression,” the song is set to an original stop-motion film created by Park.
Wild Child Set List:
Victim to Charm
Bridges Burning/This Place
The Escape/Rillo Talk
The Tale of You & Me