Wild Adriatic, Basement Batman and Deadbeat Darling at The Merc

Chelsea Eriksen on September 4, 2012

Wild Adriatic

Basement Batman, Wild Adriatic and Deadbeat Darling
Mercury Lounge
New York, NY
August 18

The four-man outfit, Wild Adriatic, played Mercury Lounge along with Basement Batman and Deadbeat Darling on Saturday August 18th. The group put on an outstanding performance that had even the most reluctant audience members jumping and jiving.

The openers, Basement Batman, played to a minimally filled room but managed to draw more of a crowd once they found their stride. Sounding a bit like a combination of Vampire Weekend and Modest Mouse, the band saved itself from being too clichéd by Ben Martinez’s surprisingly soulful and rough voice. Breaking away from their “dirt pop” sound, the group introduced some cowbell-infused island sounds giving them more of a reggae/surfer vibe. With intricate guitar solos, the band went the garage-rock route with lots of feedback over recorded guitar riffs in the background. The audience crowded into the little room, dancing in disparate groups to the catchy melodies. The year old group’s rapport with the audience was a bit awkward but picked up a bit when two female violinists joined the band and brought a contagious chemistry. When one of the violinists began rapping, everyone in the room was transfixed. Basement Batman seemed a bit green, but for having been together for only a year and with the ability to keep a crowd engaged, they’re certainly one to watch.

Wild Adriatic came next and immediately exploded into song, perfectly synchronized. The quartet has their live performance down. Beyond the music being flawlessly tight; they don’t give you a moment to look away, rolling into each song without pause. Having a great deal of classic influences, they also manage to stay relevant with infectious melodies and tons of soul. On one of the group’s more potent and funky songs “New Sun Rising,” the Lead Singer, Travis Gray, showed off his dynamic falsetto and every bandmate energetically jammed along. The audience joined in clapping in rhythm with the music, breaking down any stage/audience boundaries. The band later delighted the audience with an on point rendition of “Helter Skelter,” as drummer Mateo Vosganian pounded the cymbals, capturing the quintessence of this pop/rock/soul/blues ensemble. On one of their more heartbreaking songs “Lion In Its Cage,” guitarist Shane Gilman stood behind bassist Rich Derbyshire, holding down his frets playfully. Wild Adriatic is definitely a band that knows how to have fun on stage and share that sentiment with an audience.

The headliner for the night, Deadbeat Darling, who took the stage for their last show of the summer, carried themselves differently than the previous bands. The frontman, Joseph King, held the audience’s attention with trippy vocals and delicate movements. King’s raspy, operatic voice highlighted the group’s ever-changing vibe, ranging from reggae/surf rock to a more garage sound. Deadbeat Darling’s sound had a spacey aspect that would probably lend itself well to studio recordings but came across as a bit timid and tentative following such lively and personable bands.