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The Tulane Hullabaloo

Small Black and Wild Nothing play dreamy, danceable tracks at Republic New Orleans

Luo Qi Kong, Staff Reporter [email protected]

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Last Thursday, the atmospheric music of indie rock bands Small Black and Wild Nothing permeated Republic New Orleans during an extension of the latter’s “Life to Pause” tour, bringing both avid fans and new listeners in the audience to a gentle sway throughout the night.

The show began with opener Small Black, a group based in Brooklyn, NY signed to the Jagjaguwar record label. The band performed songs from its third and latest studio album “Best Blues”, as well as older songs, such as “Despicable Dogs”, from its first release.

“Best Blues” explores a lyrically-vulnerable and musically-textured side to Small Black. With its somewhat mysterious sentimentality, “Best Blues” reflects on the past while moving away from it, by examining the passage of time and the loss of memories.

The band’s performance was initially lackluster, and understandably so: its music does not employ harsh, pulsating rhythms, but rather unassuming melodies and emotive haziness. This message, however, can be tough for an audience to receive. Listeners didn’t seem to wake up until Wild Nothing’s set.

While Small Black is made of close friends who work and live together, Wild Nothing is a project from Blacksburg, VA created solely from the efforts of singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jack Tatum. All of the band’s records come from him, though most of the touring members have been performing with him for several years.

At around 10 p.m., Wild Nothing started with “Nocturne”, a mid-tempo song from the 2012 album of the same name. Many of the songs, while enjoyable for some light head-bobbing, blended together and became indistinguishable from one another until the end of the set.

Most notable were “Alien,” in which the band flaunted a heavier instrumental style, and its first single “Summer Holiday”, a catchy, danceable track. The encore did not disappoint, with “Gemini” and “Shadow,” some of Wild Nothing’s most well-known songs and exemplars of its typical dreamy sound. Overall, while it may have performed a pleasant, though perhaps mildly unexciting show, Wild Nothing definitely lived up to its name in the best way possible.

When indie rock meets dream pop, it can be difficult to put on the wildly-entertaining performance New Orleans often begs for and attracts. Small Black and Wild Nothing visited with the intention to inspire rather than to start a mosh pit, and that has never stopped concert-goers from having a good time.

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
Small Black and Wild Nothing play dreamy, danceable tracks at Republic New Orleans