LIVE: WILD CHILD / MAYBE FRANK – 11/03/2017
– DEAF INSTITUTE, MANCHESTER –
Being a relatively new Wild Child listener, I’m hoping for bouncy beats and down-to-earth prosaic lyrics about everyday life, provided by the way of good-humoured derision. The teasing nature of the singing duo of Wild Child is amusing to listen to, but live I’m not entirely sure what I’m in for, so being here tonight, I cannot wait to find out.
First things first though, Maybe Frank joins us tonight as the support. Though only Sam of the duo has been able to make it, there is no evidence of this in his polished performance; that he states it is the first time he’s performed on his “tod” is astonishing. He’s so relaxed on stage, you’d never have known. From classing himself as practically a hobbit with the name Samuel Rory Winterbottom, to saying he was crapping his pants about performing sans partner in crime Josh Wood, Sam is completely at ease. This is a band to watch. I was completely lost in Sam’s mesmerising vocals, range, and complete and utter charm. I’ve heard and read individual reviews where it has been said that the venue has been so quiet that you could hear a pin drop or just the hand dryers from the nearby toilets – but this guy with just himself and a guitar completely filled the room with the perfect stance of stage presence. There was an impromptu appearance from part of the Wild Child band on harmonica, which was impressive, and with songs aplenty and much crowd admiration, it was to be frank all quite lovely. Which is exactly what I told him in passing at the end of the night. Check them out, I implore you, such lungs.
For Wild Child, their compère for the evening is their multi-instrumentalist and impromptu harmonica guy, who amusingly plays the keyboard in all manner of ways – no wait, it’s all pretend, as the crowd here tonight laugh along, and with that Wild Child come on stage. The whole band is multi-instrumental, which is impressive enough, but done so without airs and graces or pomp, it’s a laid-back style that is so effectively uplifting. Though not the biggest of crowds here tonight, the band remain humble, announcing “we’re a long way from home [California], I can’t believe you’ve heard of us”. And even with that statement, though there are seats at the back of the venue, nearly everybody is stood up to swing and sway to the music with the band at the front. Favourites such as ‘Pillow Talk’ (requested after it had already been played, leaving lead singer Kelsey Wilson to state “it’s okay, I’m drinking too”), ‘Silly Things’ and ‘Someone Else’ are performed with a perfect mix of the light-hearted, devil-may-care, jovial attitude that makes them a joy to listen to.
With no set list for the night, Wild Child state that they are “a couple of casual Texans”, with a relaxed, off the cuff, on the ball, put-togetherness. The feel-good factor of this band is lovely. The cheeky lyrics paired with the band’s laid-back style is refreshing, it’s like listening to ‘This Is Your Life’ musically. And more fun. With night descending, they remind us that this is a “cool room, cool place, cool town”, and don’t we know it.