Live review: Wild Nothing, Abe Vigoda @ the Hi-DiveBy Billy Thieme | February 25th, 2011 | 2 comments
It’s been a long time (well, since the early ‘90s, I guess) since I’ve felt a similar feeling to that which I felt swimming through Wild Nothing’s short, sweet set of gummy pop at the Hi-Dive on Thursday night. If you remember afternoons in the mid-’80s listening to Aztec Camera, Haircut 100 and the like — clean, sweet candy pop that made the summer feel cooler and the girls look just a tad more shimmery — then you’re familiar with what Jack Tatum’s four piece brought to a night that promised more cold and snow than sun bathing.
And, to add more specificity, Wild Nothing encompassed a sound almost certainly yanked out of repeated listenings to “Disintegration”-era Cure tossed with some latter-day Smiths, complete with Tatum’s Robert Smith crooning. But the mix did anything but fail, in the same way it both avoids classification and courts smooth, road-tripping introspection — even when stuck in a room with about 80 more indie-rock hipsters.
Surrounded by the other three in the quartet, Tatum jerked and swayed as he sung in a strong, velvet voice while trading reverb-drenched guitar licks pulled straight from all day beach parties with the second guitarist. In between songs, Tatum spoke almost inaudibly, thanking us all for attending and listening, and then launched into another pastoral, clean and shiny tune. The clear highlight of the set was the title song from last year’s full-length, “Gemini,” a lovely and heartbreaking musing that had the audience almost uncontrollably swaying, and smiling.
Popular DIY band Abe Vigoda played a raucous and jumpy set before Wild Nothing that had a half-filled house popping. Frontman Juan Velazquez commanded the venue’s small stage as the four-pice powered through a post-rock (post-hardcore?) set.