As I meandered down to Belltown on Monday night to see Wild Nothing at The Crocodile, my groggy self was beginning to wonder if I had made a good call. Looking like a total dork in my Nocturne-era Wild Nothing t-shirt, there I was, hungry, tired, and putting off a whole lot of homework to be there. It was already past 9, the opener, Whitney, hadn’t come on yet, and I had a 9:30 the next day. I stood for a good 30 minutes, alone, having a pity party for one, until I did what you are probably telling me to do now: I decided to suck it up because ROCK AND ROLL AIN’T FOR QUITTERS!!!
As soon as the music started flowing, though, I really stopped giving a damn about my 9:30.
Whitney opened with upbeat, folksy tunes that were definite toe-tappers. Songs ranged from a Bob Dylan cover to anthems with catchy horn riffs a la San Fermin. After they left the stage, the venue really started to get packed with trendy thirtysomethings, many of whom looked like Amazon employees or something smart like that (I swear to God, the guy standing behind me looked JUST LIKE Jeff Bezos. I swear!!). The Monday night show was a sellout, and I could sense early on that Seattle was anxious for some good ol’ dream-rock action.
Here’s the part where I have to tell you that I don’t have any good pictures. I’m sorry. I really tried. But what’s a girl to do when the under-21 section is, like, 5 shoulders wide and a 6’3” lumberjack-type with a beanie sitting on top of a pile of frizzy hair stands in front of her? Take really shitty snapchats that you don’t want to see here, that’s for sure. I’m sad about this too, friends. Wild Nothing is one of my favorite bands ever. But it’s all about the EXPERIENCE, remember?
Jack Tatum, the man behind the project, swiftly walked on with his band, and the small yet crowded venue howled. After the first song of the set ended, someone yelled out “Hey, whatcha drinkin’?”, to which Tatum playfully answered “Why, Rainier!”, posing with can in hand. The crowd erupted in laughter (maybe aggressively so?) at the venue-appropriate beverage, setting the tone for the rest of the night as one of camaraderie, foolishness, and all-around good vibes. Throughout the impressively long set, Tatum played off of the crowd’s energy and heckling as he got progressively more tipsy and progressively more comfortable jamming out (I was especially impressed with this, since they had already played a live session at KEXP earlier that day. I’ve seen a lot of artists in the past who are a little tuckered out playing twice in a row). After a few songs, the band decided to continue the set with whatever songs they wanted. At the end of “Lady Blue”, Tatum insisted on playing his favorite “shred” at the end of the song again, because it wasn’t quite right the first time. Unsurprisingly, the crowd went wild, myself included.
The energy of the crowd and band made this show. It felt intimate and casual, and Tatum was noticeably comfortable goofing around while also delivering a long set with all the hits, new and old. I found myself laughing at the onstage antics more than at any other show I had been to. After the band left the stage, it only took a couple minutes for them to come back on for the encore. The quality of the music was equally phenomenal. The synth and guitar lines the artist is known for shone through in all the right places. The live renditions of a few of my all-time favorite songs, “Only Heather” and “Summer Holiday”, were truly life-changing, if I do say so myself. I rode home in the Uber regretfully looking at the clock, regretfully looking at the red stain on my t-shirt from the wrist stamp, but most of all, regretfully realizing that the show was over (that was really sappy but really true, okay??).
At one point during the show, Tatum slightly-slurred something along the lines of “If this show had a Yelp review, I’d rate it 15 stars on a scale of 1 to 10.” I’d have to agree.