If the city music scene in Washington were a party, Seattle would be the booming rager with a frat guy at the door asking, “Who do you know here?” while Spokane would be the unguarded house ushering in as many people as possible until the police circle the block.
In terms of venues, The Bartlett would be the nice guy that throws the banger that everyone remembers without remembering whose party it actually was.
Once again, The Bartlett sold out to outdo itself with headliner Barcelona, opened by the Young Wild and Lavoy.
As confident and self-assured as Barcelona was on stage (I suppose the ample crowd movement and occasional sing-alongs to the lyrics helped), the memorable performance of the night came from the San Diego native band The Young Wild. A group so fresh that Wikipedia doesn’t even have an entry for them, the three founding members Gareth Moore (keyboard), Brandon Zedaker (drummer) and Bryan B. William (frontman and bassist) rolled out of college graduation and onto the music scene in July 2014 and added Cassie Purdy for backup vocals. Almost immediately, The Young Wild was picked up by Fairfax Recording upon the release of their first and only available EP, “For Now Not Forever.”
“Each time it’s just snowballing: either more people are showing up or we’re bringing new songs,” William said, detailing that this was the band’s third visit to Spokane. “It’s never the same in this fine town.”
The night started by being personally escorted in by Moore, which was perhaps an influencing factor in their personable vibe. It nonetheless made me feel more connected to the lyrics of their song “Silhouette” that go, “If you walked with me, if you talked with me, you wouldn’t leave.”
The eight-song set began with “All the Luck”, then quickly dove into “Not a One.” The Young Wild also had a folksy cover of Alicia Keys’ “This Girl is On Fire,” which lit up the audience before slowing it down and concluding with a couple of gentler songs.
The band was satisfied with their performance after the show and recognized that they are still in a growing period. They also gave advice to other college musicians hoping to hit the industry post-grad.
“While you’re still relatively young and you have that flexible amount of time where you can still spend time working on your craft, you kind of have a window in your youth to really work on that,” said William, who could pass for a blond Nathan Ruess lookalike. “With every passing day as you get older, reality sets in and you have less time to work on your thing.”
“Do as much as you can: whether that be just working on your own stuff or whether your friend wants you to come play for a gig, just do it,” said Zedaker. “For me, those were the moments when I learned the most about who I am as a musician. You can’t predict them, you just have to go headfirst and go for them. Say yes to as much as you can.”
The Young Wild’s newest single “Not a One” seems particularly reflective of this lifestyle, with frequent mention of “the great unknown” in the chorus. The uplifting instrumentals paired with the carefree lyricism make the song perfect for rolling down a coastal highway with the windows down, or perhaps as background music in Bed Bath & Beyond while you’re picking out matching hand towel sets for your new house (depending on who you are).
The Young Wild’s stage presence made it clear that, despite tapping into the vein of a truly original strain of alternative music that can’t be traced to specific influence, aloof attitudes or egos are not evident. The band may not have matched the confidence of Barcelona, opting to fill space with lyrics rather than instrumental solos to keep the audience focused on the holistic performance, but the humbleness of The Young Wild’s genuine smiles and the focus on the clarity of their sound were enjoyable.
Overall, the band could be compared to Coldplay, or a softer Imagine Dragons, with a touch of Lumineers and a happier dash of Daughters. Perhaps they will reach the same scale stage if they preserve the uniqueness that each member brings to the table.
The group is still perfecting its sound. The Young Wild takes risks live to see what sticks: “That’s our home base, really, being able to play live and figure out what’s working,” said Zedaker. “A lot of the time when we’re in the van between gigs, we’re tweaking the playback… And we’ve been talking about some of the developments that we’re going to bring to the game.” The three men drew an analogy between their live music performances and live basketball games, highlighting the importance of taking shots and making plays.
The Young Wild has a brief break on tour until April 20 when they will play at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston but will then make their way back to the West Coast. They expect to have another new EP released this spring.