The cold snap may have still been kicking this weekend, but you couldn’t tell inside the cozy confines of Music Hall of Williamsburg where Austin based Indie Folk band Wild Child kept the crowd feeling warm and fuzzy with their endearing love songs, energetic sing-alongs and thoughtful lyrics. This rag tag bunch of southerners was considerably well-received in Brooklyn where they played to a packed house of fans who were not afraid to dance, holler and play vocal response games with the band. There’s nothing pretentious about Wild Child – these buds are all about having fun.
Original members Kelsey Wilson (lead vocals, fiddle) and Alexander Beggins (vocals, ukulele) are for lack of a better word, adorable. During a time when the boy/girl ukulele thing could easily feel played out, these two manage to breathe wonderful new life into the concept and turn it into something quite extraordinary. You can thank Wilson’s wonderfully unique, jazz-laden vocals and Beggins’ playful chords for that. The rest of the band is made up of friends Drew Brunetti, Sadie Wolfe (who is exceptional on Cello), James Bookert, Cary McGraw and Evan Mangers. This group works exceptionally well, playing off of each other in a way that oozes comfort and ease. Wilson and Beggins are particularly skilled at engaging their fans, improvising banter on the fly and shamelessly laughing at each other and themselves. During a quiet ballad, one girl in the crowd screamed, “I love your hair!” at Wilson, who laughed mid-lyric, and still took time to respond with, “I can’t see who yelled that, but I’m sure I love your hair too!” Real talk though – Wilson was killing in with her wavy powder, blue locks, sequined headpiece and woven poncho on Saturday night. She looked like some kind of magical Texan-pixie, and it was hella on point.
Saturday’s crowd was graced with a beautifully paced set that lasted close to two hours, but never felt long or tired. Song’s like Crazy Bird immediately set the lighthearted tone for the evening. Those who were fans of 2010’s self-produced debut Pillow Talk were appeased around the one-hour mark when Beggins and Wilson excused the rest of the band and announced they would be going back to their roots by playing a number of duo songs that sparkled in their simplicity including the title track that put them on the map, Pillow Talk. As audience members, we were given a chance to peek into the past, getting to experience the original pieces that were written in the backseat of the van while the two toured with a Danish folk group known as the Migrant. Wilson and Beggins’ stage chemistry is palpable, and honestly if you don’t get even just a little twitterpated by their sweet back and forth, you should probably get your heart checked out.
“Okay, now enough with the mushy stuff,” Beggins shouted, only to be met with the response, “Come on Alex, they’re all mushy,” from Wilson. The band returned to the stage to continue playing tracks from their 2013 LP The Runaround like The Living Tree, a song which garnered plenty of critical acclaim for Wild Child after NPR called it one of the top 10 songs of 2013. This gave the audience another reason to dance before Wild Child graciously thanked the Brooklyn audience for being one of the best they’d ever had. Shortly after, they returned for an encore of their title track The Runaround, which was a delightful cap at the end of their perfectly charming and balanced set.
There’s a raw quality in both Wild Child’s live shows and studio recordings that make them intriguing. Their sound is authentic, and seems to be a very real extension of the artists themselves, rather than the result of record labels primping them for the next commercial hit. After speaking with the artists, I learned that they are completely self-taught as musicians. Even Wilson, who uses her voice in amazing ways, had minimal experience before she started recording with Beggins. It’s this kind of adventurous attitude and innate artistry that helps Wild Child win over new fans in every city in which they stop.
You can purchase their sophomore album, The Runaround, on iTunes for $9.99 HERE. Check out their newest music video for their single, Rillo Talk below. Sweet Pikachu onesie, Kelsey: