The indie rock band, Wildling, is currently on tour supporting Young The Giant’s fall U.S. tour. While they’re on this tour, they will be doing an exclusive blog for us. You can check out the fourth entry, with photos, after the break.
Halloween night in Athens, GA. The second of two sold out nights at the historic Georgia Theatre. The space fills up with an excited young crowd, all anxiously waiting to see Young the Giant. But first, the opener.
The room goes dark. Through the rising roar of the crowd emerges a familiar tune from the sound system. It’s the Game of Thrones theme song. Onstage, through the fog, march three dark figures. They’re clad in black, with fur padding their shoulders and capes trailing out behind them. One approaches the center mic, and proclaims, “We are the Night’s Watch. Please welcome our Lord and Commander, Jon Snow.”
Out strolls the spitting image of Jon Snow himself. Bass slung across his shoulder, he strides to the mic downstage left, raises his sword and evokes the Georgia-Florida rivalry that played out in an annual bowl game that afternoon, “This sword is reserved only for Gator fans!”
The crowd is roaring as the center nightwatchman again approaches the mic. “And please welcome our very special guest on drums tonight, Mr. Ziggy Stardust.” And as the crowd loses their shit, David Bowie himself (by all appearances) catwalks out on stage, strikes and holds a pose. “It’s an honor and privilege to be invited here to play with my friend Jon Snow tonight. Now let’s rock.”
And with that, Wildling kicked into the arena-stomper, “Wolves (Take You).”
Speaking as a band member now, this show was insane and totally made us realize the power of theatre and costume. The crowd was sold before we even played our first note. I wish you could have seen their faces. It was like those videos of babies going through tunnels (look it up). People weren’t even sure what was happening, but they loved it. In turn, we were so jacked off their energy that we played one of the most epic sets of our lives. From the drum throne (yes, yes—this is Bowie speaking), watching my comrades parading around the stage with their black capes, moshing with the crowd, was one of the most epic things I’ve witnessed as a performer. It’s safe to say, we pulled this shit off.
The party didn’t stop with the show. Young the Giant performed as the aliens of Space Jam (complete with R. Kelly “I Believe I Can Fly” cover), and afterwards we all had a dance party in the green room with fans. Epic Halloween, y’all. Thank you, Georgia.
As we drove across the Tennessee River into downtown Knoxville, the unmistakable facade of the Tennessee Theatre appeared before us. Very few theaters make such an immediate impression, imparting both a great sense of history and style. Looking around the van, we knew we were going to perform in a special venue. Upon entering the theatre our anticipations were confirmed and our expectations exceeded. Truly spectacular, the interior of the Tennessee Theatre is capped by a high oval-domed ceiling that soars above ornate walls and plush red seats. It is also the largest stage we have performed on on this tour. As soon as we began our soundcheck, the room had a beautiful reverberation that carried our sounds with ease. Between the stage and the accommodations of our backstage area, we collectively felt that we were getting a glimpse of the “next level.” We took the stage and played a show we won’t soon forget. I believe that the room inspired us to tap into currents of electricity and joy. It wasn’t until the house lights came on at the end of our set that we realized we had just performed to an appreciative room filled with over two thousand people.
We rented a house through Air BnB for two nights in a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown. The house we stayed in had a nice old upright piano. Riding on the good vibes of Tennessee, we subsequently wrote two songs the morning after our show (later performing an a cappella version of one in Urbana). We also had the good fortune of befriending the owner, who lived across the street. She was both a coffee and whiskey aficionado—two things we cannot live without. She generously poured us several flights of rare and expensive bourbon and rye, and educated us about the finer points of whiskey along the way.
We truly enjoyed our days off in Knoxville. We met exceptionally nice people and bought some great presents for our loved ones back home at the local store Rala. We also loved exploring the streets of Knoxville, a town that is both intimate and historic with an energy that we appreciated.