Chicago’s Wilde bring 21st century vaudeville to hometown shows with a sound that mixes Rock And Roll Circus era Stones with the proto-punk humor of The Stooges. It’s an expansive sonic, fostered by a versatile creative approach that lets every band member have a say on the style, and comes together as a mixture of funky beats, swanky guitar leads, mandolin and string flourishes.
But how do you describe a band that can bring Glass Animals style alternative rock sound on “Lady In The Sun” before pivoting to “Road To Nowhere,” a funky, garage sweater that wouldn’t be out of place on Jack White’s new and experimental Boarding House Reach? The trick is to just enjoy the ride.
The obvious glue across this setlist is singer Paul Palos, who flexes a theatrical charisma that can be many characters: smooth lover on “Elizabeth,” Funkadelic frontman on “Spill The Beans” and swagged out rocker on “A Reckoner In Mojave.” On the latter track Palos shows off some great falsetto freakouts, and guitarist Timmy Briones really brings the heat with bluesy leads and delayed riffs.
Steve Keider on the bass is a songwriting force, carrying the load on “Road To Nowhere” and providing crucial transitions on “Frown.” Drummer Keenan Feller is a rock, and great at arranging his rhythms to both standout and stay in the back. The secret ingredient here however is James Shine, providing the mandolin, strings and pianos that make this otherwise standard rock outfit unique.
Putting Hurt Fever on feels like going to that warehouse on the weekend, the one who’s address only spreads by word of mouth and partying like it’s 1967, New York City style with Warhol at the bar deep in conversation is not just accepted but the norm. For anyone open eared enough to handle a band that only sees “genre” as a cage, then Wilde and Hurt Fever is a must to experience.
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