Show Review: Wildlife @ The Horseshoe

Lions, Tigers and Sharks!(?) Oh My

Wildlife at the Horseshoe

(Photo cred: Shawn Burgess/The Indie Machine)

May 11 2012

It was with much trepidation and excitement that I set foot into the Horseshoe on Friday May 11th to see Wildlife. I bought my ticket months in advance, having fallen in love with Strike Hard, Young Diamond, their debut album. But would they be able to pull off their multipart arrangements and anthemic gang vocals in a live setting? Would I go home disappointed?
 
Those fears began to subside before the set even began. Stage dressing is not usually bothered with at the ‘Shoe. But there it was, a hanging black drape and Dark Side of the Moon-esque triangle, glowing behind the drum kit. The lights dimmed as the band, their backs to the audience, launched into a drawn-out jam; playing the “what song is this gonna turn into?” game. Then, like a firing squad, every foot stepped forward, mouths to mics for ‘Stand in the Water’. Even drummer Dwayne came upstage to rap his sticks against the walls, the speakers. It was loud, full and spirited. A magnificent start.
 
The upbeat single ‘When I Get Home’ came next, though they rocked it like an encore. From the amount of sweat emitted by this point, it’s debatable whether they’d be able to play an entire set without burning out or shriveling up. But they did, providing the crowd endless opportunities to sing, pump their arms and dance along.
 
“This is usually the point of the show where we tell you to move up. But, well…” The band is overwhelmed with the enthusiasm and amount of people that stayed to catch their set (openers Reversing Falls, Topanga and Pkew Pkew Pkew Gunshots also drew crowds). The audience was reduced to kindergarteners with the introduction of two giant shark balloons (with moving tails!) which were piloted around the venue. The downside being that they produced so much childish glee that they distracted from the performance.
 
While Derek, Tim and Graham often changed up their positions and instruments between songs, lead singer and guitarist Dean remained centre stage. His voice, a curious mix of both Burt McCracken and Geddy Lee has the sensibility of an indie rocker and the passion of a screamo kid; as if he were tearing out his own heart with every uttered sound. And (sigh of relief) it sounds just as authentic in real life as it does on record.
 
The night seemed over after the emotive single ‘Sea Dreamer’ left everyone both exhausted and satiated. But with one last burst of energy, they riled the crowd one last time with ‘Money From God’. Having nearly played Strike Hard Young Diamond in its entirety, plus two songs from an upcoming record, Wildlife left fans wanting nothing more. Well, almost. The pining masses pulled them back on stage for a one song encore- a brilliant cover of The Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley (Teenage Wasteland)’.
 

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About J2

What happens when you're a wordsy music aficionado who works for NXNE, CMW, HPX, Olio Music Festival, The JUNOs and Polaris Music Prize? You spend all of your free time blogging about it... Follow on Twitter if you're so inclined: @HearPlugged

Posted on May 18, 2012, in Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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