Over a year ago, I had no idea who The Wrecks were when they opened a show at the House of Blues. After that night, I was completely won over. I even felt myself disappointed to go home after finding out they only had three officially released songs. Regardless, I wore the hell out of those songs, putting them on repeat until they released an EP with five more songs earlier this year. Last weekend, still with only 8 songs under their belt, I had the opportunity to watch The Wrecks headline a sold out show at the Troubadour, promoted by KROQ’s Locals Only.
Strolling into the venue with about 3 minutes to spare before the first band took the stage, we found that even at a sold out show, the Troubadour has nothing but a great view from any spot. After scoping out a comfortable space to the left of the stage, we stood back and took in the gradual shift in atmosphere as The Licks started playing. Heads nodded, bodies swayed, feet tapped – The Licks captured the room. In the midst of their set, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and asked if we knew who this opener was, obviously impressed by their control of the crowd. As their last song of the night, they performed their most popular hit so far, “Lavender Kiss.” Introduced to Saturday’s crowd as “purple smooches,” this track perfectly cooled down the house with its laid back vibe and mellow vocals.
Deal Casino kept things cool as they controlled the stage with ease. A lot of their tracks featured some fascinating instrumental elements – heavy guitar, synthesizers, slow beats – keeping the crowd intrigued but relaxed. Of course, they had their show stopping moments as well, teaching the room to sing along to the sorrowfully sweet “Color TV” was quite the memorable minute. Shortly after, it was the turn of UFO UFO to captivate the crowd. As the freshest faces in the room, they needed to prove themselves capable of following The Licks and Deal Casino. Talking with the crowd and introducing each song, they made sure to make an impression as fresh voices, just having released their first song on Spotify, “Fools” only the day before.
After two hours, it was time for The Wrecks to face their sold out room of anxiously waiting fans. More than a year later, they are the same band I saw at the House of Blues. They delivered the same energy, showmanship and connection that drew me in the first time. The difference in a year’s time?I know all the lyrics and, apparently, so does the rest of the house. The Wrecks have seemingly grown into their own. Within the first track, “Figure This Out,” guitarists Westen Weiss and Nick Schmidt had the entire space jumping in unison. Though the band is still young, they’re already performing like true rock stars – not begging for the crowd’s attention, but earning it. Lead singer, Nick Anderson, peacocks on stage- dancing, performing his impossible vocals- but remains completely approachable, constantly making connection. Whether it’s talking with individuals in the crowd, making eye contact, singing to someone or jumping in the crowd, he makes you feel like part of the show. He sells more than the music, he sells an experience like none other. The band knows this, and gave him space for his show-stopping acoustic segment of the night. The spotlight fell on him and his guitar as he led us down a path of raw emotion and voice by stripping down a particularly large song, “Panic Vertigo.”
Recognizing their short track list, Nick treated us to an unreleased song that, for me, stole the night. It was a song by the title “Rely,” with nothing but four chords, his voice, and as much passion as if he was performing it for the first time. When the rest of the band returned to the stage in the middle of “Revolution,” everyone was bouncing off the walls for the remainder of the set including crowd favorite “James Dean,” their biggest hit “Favorite Liar” and another unreleased track “This Life I Have.” This song is an extremely pit-worthy song, as drummer, Billy Nally and bassist Aaron Kelley, cut in for the chorus. They wrapped up the night with a power packed encore including a cover of “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet, leaving everyone drenched in sweat.
The night was over and the room cleared. People could be found in small clusters around the venue or outside, already playing the night back to each other. A show by The Wrecks is the perfect place to go if you want to be somewhere where you don’t have to know every song or word to enjoy the night and feel like you know everyone in the crowd. They just wrapped up tour but will continue to play festivals and are always hinting at new music. This band will be worth keeping an eye on.
Photos by Emily Sierra