Concerts Concerts Wildlife Brings Some New Friends Home

Wildlife Brings Some New Friends Home

Wildlife at The Mod Club
Young the Giant, Wildlife
The Mod Club
July 20, 2011

Review by: Chad Hutchings
Photos by: Pete nema

Local favourites Wildlife appeared with Young the Giant last week for their sold-out Toronto show. 

Wildlife

Over the past few months, I've come to realize that Wildlife is one of my favourite current Toronto acts — a fact that's surprising, because I started out assuming that I just really liked the new Arcade Fire album.

You see, back before The Suburbs was released, the regular shady dealings had the album making the rounds on the internet, but with some tracks secretly replaced with tunes from Wildlife's most recent Strike Hard, Young Diamond (check out more details here). Through a (luckily short) series of slightly embarrassing moments, I eventually learned who was actually behind these tracks, and I began to wonder if their live show would stand up to the recorded work that had thousands of fans excited about what many thought to be fresh new take from Arcade Fire.

Now, after seeing them take the stage on Wednesday, (even though Strike Hard, Young Diamond was never a Grammy contender) I'm glad to report that Wildlife's appearance at The Mod Club easily put them on par with any award winning group that's passed through the city this year.

In a veiled dose of irony, singer Dean Povinsky spent the whole set seated while his band performed the sold-out show in what is arguably one of the best standing-room venues in the city. While bandmates joked "He stubbed his toe real bad", he actually suffered a serious achilles tendon injury during a performance a few days earlier, causing the group to cancel a show the night before their hometown appearance. And yet, even with their lead seated, the entire band put their best foot forward and showed no shortage of steam on-stage (though Povinsky's customary back-flips were apparently out of the question). 

Complementing this, their sound remained nearly flawless. To their aid, the levels were extremely tight, but the group's instrumentals and vocals were crisp and fiery, and their show grew exponentially stronger through the hour, peaking on a pair of stunning songs: The first was a highlighting performance of "Sea Dreamer" that was one of the most powerful deliveries I've heard all year — and I've heard a hell of a lot this year. Following that, to cap the set, was "Killing For Fun" — a rendition that was astronomically moving, with the whole audience joining in while the band absolutely wailed as their time in the spotlight came to a close.

During this most recent visit home, the band was full of life and it beamed on stage; it was easy to see that, despite their light discography, Wildlife has spent many a minute honing their live presence over their six years together, and their set was the definitive hard act to follow.

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Young the Giant

Even though Wildlife doesn't struggle to draw a crowd, the boldest writing on Wednesday's bill was used to announce Young the Giant, and the headlining act had no trouble living up to the hype that sold every ticket and had a long line waiting for the doors to open. 

With only one release to their credit, the Southern Californian act has basically blown up overnight, with their name appearing high on the charts across the continent over the past year. The group's songs are catchy and brimming with clever beats, and their live versions stood strongly alongside the studio releases. 

It did help that lead singer Sameer Gadhia succeeded in carrying a lot of weight for his group, working up a sweat to put on a show that made the rest look lifeless by comparison. But with energy aside, the work was well-presented and well-received, especially when their third single "Cough Syrup" came up to bat, lighting the crowd into action as they jumped, danced, and took over singing the final chorus — a hand-off that gave Gadia one single (and much deserved) chance to catch his breath during a set that soared far beyond any fan's already high expectations.