Toronto – Google “The Wilderness” and all kinds of things pop up: a Wikipedia entry about the Civil War, conservation editorials, a Wilderness Summit video by David Suzuki, and the list goes on. Dig further into those results and you’ll stumble upon an experimental rock group from Toronto.
Saturday was a big night for the Wilderness, playing at the Horseshoe Tavern and releasing their new album .272. To be honest, before the show I’d only really heard their latest single, Realpolitik, which I liked instantly.
The Wilderness did not disappoint, one bit. They had quite an entertaining set: stage adorned with an over sized dream-catcher, audience armed with balloons, lead singer, Lee pouring glitter all over the front row keeners, interpretive dancers and surprise duets. I’m sure as a band it’s annoying to be categorized and compared to predecessors, but I’m going to go ahead and do it. I hear a mix of Editors, Joy Division and !!!. Lee’s distinct Ian Curtis-esque voice meshes well with the band’s rock/electronic sound (think a cooler, deeper more experimental and talented version of The Killers).
The Wilderness had no problem getting the crowd to dance. With help from the 4 interpretive dancers on stage, the crowd had whipped themselves into a frenzy by about the second song and with Lee’s help stayed that way until the end!
There is something to be said about a charismatic band front-man. Lee has nailed the art of crowd participation, from peppering the audience with sparkles throughout the show to encouraging fans onto the stage for the encore, he is able to connect with a packed room which is no easy feat.
The Wilderness have an original sound, can engage a crowd like the pros and have managed to produce a tight album. I can honestly say this was one of the most entertaining and passionate shows I’ve been to in a while and predict that this Toronto band won’t stay unsigned for long.
Check out the video I took of the encore: