I’ve now seen Wilderness play four times since last fall. I’d have to say that those shows are in the top five of shows I’ve seen over that time period. Obviously, last night at Northsix was no exception. They were playing their first headlining show in NYC at a venue that wasn’t in a basement with 8′ high ceilings (sorry Scenic & Cake Shop). The band has just come off its first European tour and last night was a one-off show in Brooklyn before heading out stateside with labelmates Parts & Labor. They are touring in support of their brilliant sophomore record Vessel States. The band relied heavily on material from the record, and if there was any downside to the show, it was that they only played a couple of songs from their s/t debut, playing Arkless, and then closing their set with End of Freedom.
Even in their earliest shows I felt the band played extremely well together, and sounded rehearsed beyond their short career. The recent touring has, if anything, loosened the band up a bit. They definitely have more confidence on stage, allowing the music to spill out of them. Guitarist Colin McCann’s improvised guitar playing gave a new dynamicism to the recorded material. Despite, releasing two brilliant albums in a years time, the band also played two unreleased tracks that were as moving as any of their existing songs. At least one of the songs is on their tour-only Living Through/Part Ways 7″ that I picked up after the show. It just shows that these guys have a tremendous upside. I feel this band has something very special. A lot has been written about comparisons to PIL and Joy Division, but I feel that while there may be influences and similarities, these guys truly transcend the works of those bands and have made an art all their own.