The Wild Circus seems to have had a wild ride through Berlin over the last few years, gigging furiously, recording determinedly, promoting tirelessly. I’d heard enough about them that I was surprised that this would be the first gig I’d actually made it to. But there you go.
I’m not very bright, so it didn’t occur to me that the gig I would be going to was actually the Berlinale opening night party put on by Crew United, Germany’s online portal for the film industry – putting together actors, producers, directors and films.
So of course there was a huge queue outside, where I spent half an hour freezing my nuts off waiting to go in. Luckily when I got inside half an hour late the band were still playing and I caught a good half hour of their show.
Good news: The Wild Circus rocked
I thought, fucking hell, decent band. Rooted somewhat in the nineties, their style lies somewhere between Guns and Roses, Smashing Pumpkins and the Foo Fighters. Despite the fact that the singer and rhythm guitarist were obviously a good decade or two older than the rest of the band, they ticked all the necessary boxes. I’m now officially kind of old, so I don’t hold age against anyone, but I somehow feel that a band should be roughly the same age. I don’t know why, it just jarrs a bit.
Nonetheless, singer Syd Baker has got a great voice, reminiscent of Eddie Vedder, if somewhat mixed too quiet by the soundman on the night, and good stage presence: it’s obvious that he’s trod a whole lot of stages in his life, feeling visibly at ease in front of the large audience, chatting good-naturedly and joking between songs. The drummer and bassist grooved really nicely, and the two guitarists were tight. Lead guitarist Neelesh Vasister did well, very competently throwing in tight little licks as well as the odd burning solo, without going overboard, and there was a keyboardist there too who unfortunately I couldn’t pick out in the mix. Which could just be because he was so in the pocket, of course.
They’re millimetres from being a seriously good live band
So where’s the problem? Hm, I don’t know. From their performance on the night, they’re millimetres from being a seriously good live band. The easiness with the audience, with being on stage, was a sign of experience and professionalism, but it also meant that that burning something that you see and hear when a band is determined, ready for battle and hungry as hell was missing – and which really shouldn’t be missing, especially when they’ve been given a gig like this, in front of a huge audience, all slavering to have a wild night of it.
The level of musicianship of the individual players and the tightness of the band meant that they turned in a good, solid performance, and there were huge cheers and applause when they walked off stage – not that usual for an industry gig like this one, even if it’s the film industry and not the music one. But like I say, on this night at least, there was that little something lacking, and I missed it.
Review by Noel Maurice