Local Current Blog

Review and photos: Wild Child and the Wild Reeds were graceful and lush at the Cedar Cultural Center

Wild Child. (Photos by Emmet Kowler/MPR)

Between sets on Friday night, the crowd at the sold-out Cedar Cultural Center were treated to Gloria Estefan’s “Conga,” Bruno Mars’s “That’s What I Like,” Estelle’s “American Boy,” and even a club remix of Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That.” No one seemed entirely sure why the house playlist — normally such a perfunctory affair — was such a blast until the house lights went out, Earth, Wind & Fire’s “In the Stone” blared, and all seven members of Wild Child took to the stage. Seemingly every face in the room was grinning.

Even if they didn’t manage to sustain that grin-inducing glee over the course of a 65+ minute set, the Austin band were eager to please. The crowd, skewing young even for the all-ages venue (a pair of first-time concertgoers, no older than six or seven, were planted front and center with their parents), were eager to give back, often singing audibly over the dense sound mix.

Lead vocalist and violinist Kelsey Wilson brought a relaxed and graceful presence to the stage, often content to stand barefoot with one hand on her hips while Alexander Beggins, also a lead vocalist, held it down on the baritone ukulele. The ensemble littered the stage with instruments, with members often switching on a verse-to-chorus basis.

An early set time gave them the freedom to pull from all four of their albums, even while leaning on material from their latest, Expectations. Their sound is reminiscent of mid-2000s indie-pop outfit the Submarines, comfortably traipsing down the line between earnest and twee. The evening’s highlight was a striking and lush rendition of “Sinking Ship,” accompanied by openers the Wild Reeds. Another highlight was all the different kinds of eye glitter, onstage and in the crowd.

Indie-folk openers the Wild Reeds played a set conspicuously free of roteness. Instead, their robust harmonies and dynamic guitar solos seemed to unfold in the present tense, a great fit for a band where three people — Sharon Silva, Kinsey Lee, and Mackenzie Howe — share frontwoman duties. With their set drawing to a close, Howe inquired: “Do we have time for two songs or three?” The crowd responded, in one voice, “THREE!”

The Wild Reeds

Wild Child