Frank Flanagan is a freelance writer fresh from Rhode Island. This is part of a series of posts by Flanagan where he explores Orlando with a newcomer’s perspective.
By Frank Flanagan
The Wilderness (Facebook | Website) may have been trying to burn down the Social last night, both figuratively and literally. Burning incense from seemingly every amp in the room, the four-piece alt-band from Orlando took the best of three performances, opening for Adam and the Plastic (SoundCloud). New to the Orlando music scene, the Wilderness served me an excellent introduction.
The young band will be hitting the road for their first tour on July 15 – a fifteen-day tour up and down the east coast, stopping in major cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Durham, NC. For an upcoming band the Wilderness exuded an incredible amount of confidence. The band’s stage presence rivaled that of a much more experienced band, fully aware of their audience, and playing to strengths of their charming and funny selves. Had the lead singer, Elesio Gregory, not mentioned the band’s innocence I would have never picked up on it.
Sandwiched between the opening act, Jessica Vacha (Facebook), a soulful singer/songwriter, and Adam and the Plastic, the night’s headliner, the Wilderness effortlessly took command of the night. Amongst my favorite parts of the band’s set was watching bassist Nick Lucas control the audience during and between songs. Nick appeared completely in sync with the music, looking absolutely possessed by each song. Not to mention his excellent crowd work between songs, Nick seemed always ready with a joke, or something to rev the small crowd back up. The Wilderness’s night was almost cut short when guitar player Ryan Monks had to leave stage to answer natures call. Fortunately, drummer Jonathan Woodward induced an audience countdown to hurry Monks back to the stage.
Self-described as psychedelic or vibe-rock, the Wilderness seemed to capture the best qualities of bands like Catfish and the Bottlemen and American Football. The band performed songs off their first studio album, Natural Wonders. “Redrock,” the second song on the album, seemed to be a crowd favorite.
Check out this video of the Wilderness by Badkins Media: