Music Reviews — 23 April 2015
Wowed by Wild Adriatic at Mercury Lounge

Wild Adriatic

A LocalBozo.com Concert Review
Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
April 22, 2015

Concert Review: Wild Adriatic at Mercury Lounge

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The passing of rain clouds over New York City would do little to prevent an hour of infectious music from filling the room during the early show at Mercury Lounge on Wednesday night. Hailing from upstate New York, the trio of musicians that make up Wild Adriatic brought their A game to the Lower East Side’s diminutive stage in front of a small but vocal group of the band’s fans. Heading into the Wednesday night show, the band’s name somehow struck a chord with our outlet. Peering into our archives, we’d actually caught glimpses of Wild Adriatic before, playing cover songs last summer amid the backdrop of the outdoor 2014 Coney Island On Tap beer festival. Fortunately for us, the band was front and center on this night with a performance that gave no reason for them to share the spotlight with any other distraction.

In sound, Wild Adriatic is a band that produces a bluesy funky sort of classic rock that you don’t really hear much anymore, with a style that’s slow enough to jam on but with enough roaring guitar riffs and pummeled drum beats to make sure that you don’t ever lose focus of their stage show. Touring in support of their month-old EP release “Never Enough,” the group showcased their musical chops over an eleven song set that allowed each of their bandmates to shine. Almost immediately, you notice the connection and the camaraderie between the three bandmates on stage- sharing subtle glances and smiles at each other while performing. Though cohesive, each of the three utilizes singular tendences that make each performance a worthy attraction.

Bass player Rich Derbyshire is the group’s energetic catalyst- his mutton chop sideburns and big poofed out cloud of curly hair while eye catching, pale in comparison to his constantly dancing feet moving about as if disconnected from his body, from a jazz-like jig to a full-on running man. Drummer Mateo Vosganian makes more facial expressions than any similarly colorful body movements, but he’ll often keep the crowd in the palm of his hands by standing up for an especially pronounced cymbal smash. Meanwhile, decked out in skinny jeans, a cardigan and hush puppies, frontman Travis Gray often unleashes a surprising vocal range on the otherwise unsuspecting audience- when he’s not working through a guitar breakdown or a lead solo as the band’s only player. Gray’s ability to transcend the instruments of each song with the use of his voice left us marveling at his talents as each song progressed.

Sandwiching a particularly authentic cover of The Knack’s “My Sharona” between original numbers, Wild Adriatic performed a slew of still unreleased songs in a set littered with catchy rock tunes, improvising whenever the mood would seemingly strike them. Cuts like the riff heavy “Never Enough,” the slower and vocally melodic “Cooperstown” and the undeniably energetic “40 Days 40 Nights,” which featured Derbyshire strumming his bass while walking amongst the standing room crowd were among the show’s finer points. Saving perhaps their most fun tunes for last, it’s baffling that “Strange Persuasions” isn’t already a hit that’s put the band on the proverbial map. It was certainly the one song that we were humming long after the band’s final song- the equally memorable and frenzied “Mess Around”- had concluded. It was a coming out party in Manhattan for a band that’s made their way onto our radar based solely on performance alone. There were no guitar or wardrobe changes during the course of their show- no pomp and circumstance- just the three members of Wild Adriatic working to make beautiful and inspired music together.

- Dave Gendelson

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