Maybe my dissapointment over friday night’s Dirty On Purpose show had something to do with my anticipation for seeing (alright I’ll just come out and say it) my favorite new band, Wilderness . They played their second of a two night stint at the Cake Shop. Having seen them for the fourth time now, one would think the novelty would be wearing thin, but for me its bordering on a life changing experience. First of all, these guys are serious. This is not a fun show, where everyone is dancing and laughing. The music, and more specifically James Johnson’s lyrics and demeanor carry both an immediacy and urgency that few bands even try to carry off. The feel is something like Joy Division, but not in the Paul Banks sings kinda like Ian Curtis kind of way, but in a’ this is some important music that grabs you and is about right now’ way. The result is a performance which audience members are channeling the music, not just spectators. Guitarist Colin McCann seemed to be playing two parts at once, and Johnson, unwilling to be merely stoic at the mic, was alternately sitting on the floor, standing on the drum kit, behind the kit (whist the drummer took a short break during an intro part), and into the audience itself, never losing his intensity.
Part of the freshness of the show was the band relied almost entirely on material from their soon to be released Vessel States. The songs seem to both pick up and leap forward from their brilliant self tiltled debut. The new songs were so good, that the audience received them as if they were old favorites, only making requests for past material at the very end. This only peaked my anticipation for the new record, and, of course, seeing them play again. The band will begin their first real european and north american tours since the release of either album, beginning next month.