To be a hype band is one thing – to deliver on the potential is another thing completely. In the space of a year, Jack Tatum has managed to make the jump with wonderful ease. Having only started making music under the moniker Wild Nothing in the summer of 2009, it’s been a short, sharp journey from his home of Blacksberg, Virginia to Manchester’s Deaf Institute, but if the near-capacity crowd are anything to go by, it’s one that’s been worthwhile.
The trip to the evening’s gig has been somewhat shorter for support act Porcelain Raft – a trip up the M1 from London in fact – but for the burgeoning crowd, it’s not difficult to see the talent on show. The work of Mauro Remiddi, he takes the stage alone, sampling and strumming his way through an array of largely as-yet unreleased works that are bound to get bloggers making up new superlatives to lavish upon them. Fittingly, the glorious ‘Tip Of Your Tongue’ is saved until last, it’s lingering beauty a perfect way to end a set filled with promise.
Anyone who manages to take a Kate Bush song and make it their own is worthy of commercial acclaim, and that there’s barely room to move by the time Tatum and his live band turn up on stage is a testament to that. The band seem genuinely relaxed, flicking through the hits from the much-lauded debut Gemini with languid ease, the textured noise layered on thick, exactly how it should be.
Despite the effortless cool of the band on stage, it’s an unusually chatty environment for such a small gig – something akin to a festival audience rather than a fervent fanbase. Throughout much of the set, the warm waves of noise have to battle with tipsy conversation on the floor, and a small section take pictures throughout – not of the band, though, but of each other. Fortunately, the inattentive few only manage to take minimal sheen off of the performance, the shoegaze tinted still arresting through the idle chatter. The ‘Cloudbursting’ cover makes an appearance and almost steals the show, the only explicit reference to the nostalgia that haunts Wild Nothing’s music.
Tenderly arranged and wonderfully executed, chat between numbers is kept to a bare minimum, mirroring the navel gazing introspection that has become Tatum’s trademark. Whilst most of this generation of buzz bands fail to impress when made to perform live, Wild Nothing rarely fail to entertain, even if some of the more nuanced aspects of the sound are missing. The set curtailed at just over 40 minutes, prolonged applause and cries of “more” from the crowd are met with genuine confusion by the band, Tatum hovering by the dressing room door before finally disappearing, the clapping subsiding as a DJ begins his set. The transition from hype act to successful mid-level act has been a short one, but it doesn’t take a huge leap of the imagination to see Wild Nothing selling out shows a lot larger than this is the near future.