Most times you go to a gig, you can say “that was great” or “I’ve seen better”, but rarely can you struggle to put into words the intensity of what you’ve just witnessed. When Wild Nothing entered the stage it was clear from the sold out crowd’s enthusiasm and the band’s cool, calm and collected attitude that this was going to be one to remember. The set begins with ‘To Know You’ from new album Life of Pause. Immediate heavy, undulating synths stretch out across the crowd like thick, tough taffy that would be impossible the rip through. An invisible dome of synths and deafening drums encompasses the crowd, we’re trapped in Wild Nothing’s atmosphere with no chance of escape.
Next up, an immediate crowd pleaser in the form of ‘Nocturne’, the title track of the band’s 2012 breakthrough album. The track shows off Jack Tatum’s impressive vocal range. His voice comes across so pure live on stage, no effects or studio twizzles, the radiance of his tone gleams through the songs’ dreamy guitars. Most of the set consists of material from Wild Nothing’s new album – a positive aspect – with tracks like ‘Alien’, ‘Lady Blue’ and ‘Japanese Alice’ shining through in particular. The most immense impact came from Life of Pause opener ‘Reichpop’, it’s subtle beginnings evolving slowly with an unequivocally life changing bass line, it’s almost full on slap bass, it’s so audibly crunchy. There’s less Bombay Bicycle Club-esque vibes live compared to the record, but live the bass and tight cymbals come together to create a surrounding sense of excitement and anticipation for what is to come.
‘Only Heather’ and ‘Summer Holiday’ tease the crowd as Tatum announces “these are our last songs”, until a sarcastic punter at the front loudly points out “no it’s not, I can see your setlist!”. The jangling reminiscent guitars of old school Wild Nothing tracks get the crowd jumping and singing along with furore before the classic walk off-walk on again encore scenario takes place. The crowd don’t stop screaming, clapping, whistling and general showing loud appreciation during this brief period of an empty stage. The band’s drummer confirms that Manchester has been “the best crowd in the UK” causing extended uproar of cheering.
‘Japanese Alice’ and the incredible eponymous album track ‘Life of Pause’ form the majority of the encore, the latter – a distinguished synth-led track with whispered uplifting vocals makes it difficult to believe the track coming next will ever top it. But that’s not the point, ultimately Wild Nothing’s most well-known ‘Shadow’ is the night’s closer. It’s inspiring riff and repetitive energy causing those in the middle to jump for joy again and again as soon it the riff joins back in. With happy heads and smiles on our faces, the crowd departs as the set ends. We’ve all left the venue with 2 things – the memory of an outstanding live show and ‘Shadow’s riff stuck in our heads for the rest of the night.