Wild Nothing, Arches; 9/11/10
I love going to gigs, don’t get me wrong. But the one thing I hate when reviewing live music is that tense moment beforehand. You say your name at the door, and the girl (who, incidentally, always seems to be, in the immortal words of Kimya Dawson, the ‘skinny pretty girl who likes to talk about bands’ type) looks blankly at the guestlist. Your heart stops for a moment. I am not willing to get shot down by another girl prettier than I am, it happens enough in normal life, and I don’t want it happening on the job now too. But then, a sigh of relief, I’m in. Now it’s time for the obligatory head bobbing and feigned look of aloof coolness, when really all I’m thinking is, ‘do I look like a loner alcoholic?’ I tell myself to channel Lester Bangs and just enjoy myself.
During the first support act, Crayons, the audience adopt this awkward, and I’m sure for the band, slightly demoralising cluster at the back of the empty room. With an admirable spirit, however, the à la Alex Turner front man does his best to coax at least a sway out of the 15 odd people there. There is a generic NME slant to them, apparent in their baby faces (they look about twelve) and the fact their entire set consists of songs rife with teen angst. However, credit where credit is due, they are punchy, and Belle Laide is a lovely sweet song about young love and on a personal note I must admit, I do like a bit of a Scottish regional accent poking through a singing voice.
From the sight of a straight laced looking female violinist, the second support act look promising as soon as they first step on stage; the addition of a classical instrument in a modern indie band always seems so unnaturally cool. Kill The Waves don’t live up to my expectation: imagine Radiohead, but without being able to pull off the whining. There was far too much feedback and not in a good ‘lo-fi No Age kind’ of way. The set dragged on and the only redeeming quality of the entire performance was Heather Thicky’s hauntingly beautiful violin accompaniment.
Wild Nothing’s dreamy synth-infused, shoegaze pop, and a now much larger, more buzzing audience fill the underground cavern that is the Arches. They sound like what your head feels like when you’ve smoked too much in a park with your best mates on a summer day. Jack Tatum’s melodic vocals, which during the first part of the set cause my head to keep screaming ‘Kate Bush, he sounds like Kate Bush!’ by the end take on a drawling but emphatic tone, similar to that of the majority of American indie bands, such as Surfer Blood or Women. The set is pleasantly lengthy but doesn’t drag, as Wild Nothing’s whimsical sound does well to whisk you away into a world of your own, making you forget that you’re in a dirty, crowded Glasgow venue. Although not genre defying, if they come to town, Wild Nothing are worth a visit, and I recommend adding Chinatown (which is by far their best track) to your summer BBQ playlist before they, as bad I feel for saying so, fade into obscurity.