Words and Photos by Rob McKenney
Connected. Intimate. Magnetic. Unified. These are the words I would choose to describe the experience that is a This Wild Life set. With dreamy melodies and heartfelt, emotive lyrics woven tightly together in masterful live performance, Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso have been captivating audience members across the country on the Petaluma Tour. The intimate nature of their music and live performance is complemented by a full bill fantastic support acts Sleep On It, Hold Close, and Crooked Teeth, giving fans a live experience they won’t soon forget. Their recent stop at the Canal Club in Richmond, VA was no exception.
The night kicked off with California trio, Crooked Teeth, who got things off to a great start and set the tone for the rest of the evening. Singer Tyson Evans’s dreamy vocal lines danced seamlessly through the band’s energetic, punchy musical stylings and audience members were drawn into their vibe immediately. Dance-worthy riffs mixed with lyrics tackling some pretty heavy topics brought a little bit of something for everyone, and Crooked Teeth proved to be a more than capable opener for this lineup.
Next up was Hold Close, the up-and-coming pop-punk outfit from Springfield, MO. Having seen this band on other tours, I am always impressed by their continued growth in a live setting. They are continually upping their standard for live performance and rise to the occasion repeatedly. Like a finely-tuned machine, they delivered a powerful and engaging performance that drew the audience in both emotionally and physically. The barricade was stacked with fans singing back their songs back to them and even compelling some movement on the floor at points as a small pit opened for a time. Overall, another solid performance from Hold Close to propel the evening forward with anticipation.
In the direct support slot was the Chicago-based pop-punk band Sleep On It. The up-and-coming stars in the scene proved yet again that they are a force to be reckoned with in a live setting. The driving guitar riffs from duo Jake Marquis and Teddy Horansky combined with the rhythmic support of drummer Luka Fischman to lay the foundation for a set that turned the energy in the room on its head. Frontman Zech Pluister delivers lyrics with gut-wrenching intensity, and you can help but be enamored with the whole band’s stage presence. As a band that is a pretty stark contrast stylistically to their headlining acoustic counterparts Sleep On It has undoubtedly won over plenty of new fans on this tour. With a genuine and engaging set encompassing a range of the band’s material, they’re seizing their opportunity to reach a whole new set of listeners and sealing the deal from the stage.
By the time This Wild Life took the stage, the crowd was buzzing with excitement. That attentiveness was met with the stripped down but beautifully crafted performance from the duo. The flawlessly delivered music was paired with perfectly designed and executed lighting and sunflower props scattered across the stage. This combination made for a stunning visual and musical experience for all in attendance. This Wild Life genuinely are masters of their craft, and the Petaluma Tour is another shining example of what happens when a band goes the extra mile to truly entertain and engage their fans in a live performance.