On Monday, October 06, we popped into Camden's Underworld for the low-key event of the year. But can This Wild Life really pull off a headline performance in the capital?
As we walk into the Underworld this evening, one thing becomes clear fairly quick: This Wild Life have a diverse fanbase. The venue isn't rammed, but of the generous crowd there is no 'typical' fan here - teens rub shoulders with dudes pushing 35, and, alarmingly, everyone's very well behaved.
So much so that when local man Rob Lynch strides onto the stage for his warm-up slot, it's uncomfortably quiet. His tidbits of stories from a summer spent on Warped Tour attract the odd patter of giggling, and while it takes damn near everything he's got to rouse a singalong for the final refrain of 'Hawking', he gets there in the end. Lynch's storytelling charm and purity of performance are what win crowds like this over, and tonight they ensure he's shifted a few T-shirts and copies of his new album 'All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul' by the time the night's done.
This Wild Life
Cutting into their half-hour changeover (because come on, who on earth needs a half-hour changeover at an acoustic show?!) Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso step onto The Underworld's stage to the warmest of welcomes. Their second time in the capital follows on from their sold-out Barfly show last year, and while tonight might not be as full as they'd hoped, bringing out the big guns in 'Concrete' and fan-favourite 'Puppy Love' straight off the bat gets the lungs of the room warmed up nice and early.
With an extra chunk of set time owing to it being the last night of tour, Jordan indulges us with the backstory to each song, and as he does, it becomes clear that his knack for building a rapport with a crowd is perhaps a talent as strong as his voice. Playing to what the fans want works well, too, as their roof-raising cover of Bring Me The Horizon's 'Sleepwalking' and broken hearted set-closer 'History' command the loudest cries from the floor.
This Wild Life
At times, they're rough around the edges and the odd duff harmony does stop This Wild Life from being something truly spectacular, but it's the last night of tour, and those little imperfections here and there add to the California two-piece's warmth and appeal. They migh not have the backline or the production that so many of their peers rely on, but tonight proves well and truly that when you have songs this strong, you don't need anything else.
Words by Andy Ritchie. Photos by Ben Gibson. For a full gallery of the evening, head to this link.