The Birmingham, Alabama-based band, touring on the back of their recently released debut full-length, We Have Cause To Be Uneasy (QRO review), came to Southpaw (QRO venue review) in Brooklyn just before Hurricane Hannah on Friday, September 5th. Summer may be over, Labor Day may have just passed, and white may be out of fashion, but Wild Sweet Orange’s honest emotional power is fitting for the days (and nights) of fall.
The group certainly opened with some weary autumnal rhythm in “House of Regret”. “Regret” might have been a little soft for an opener, but the energy was pumped up with the following “Wrestle With God” (from last year’s self-released Whale EP), which had an alt-blues air to it. The shift to the much more melodic “Ten Dead Dogs” was a little stark, but the piece’s underlying press kept it strong. The atmosphere of “Crickets” got lost a little in the rafters, but the indie-country “An Atlas to Follow” was perhaps the most carrying number of the night. And “Either/Or” brought back the rock ‘n’ roll electricity, making it a clear crowd favorite.
Wild Sweet Orange playing “Either/Or” live at Southpaw in Brooklyn, NY:
There was a bit of a disconnect between Wild Sweet Orange and the audience. Some of that could be chalked up to most being there for headliner What Made Milwaukee Famous (QRO photos), an Austenite indie-rock group more focused on the rock ‘n’ roll fun (the kind who’d do a cover of Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right”). But Wild Sweet had also just flown in from the land of peaches (and golf), Augusta, Georgia, where they’d played at the drummer’s grandmother’s wedding (“She’s eighty years old … Love is alive and well in August, Georgia!”). Singer/guitarist Preston Lovinggood admitted the band was “a little…”, but they really showed some great, exuberant energy, especially at the end with “Either/Or” and finisher “Aretha’s Gold” (though the new song in between those two, “I Have No Baby To Call”, while touching, was perhaps too soft and restrained for the evening).
Wild Sweet Orange playing “Aretha's Gold” live at Southpaw in Brooklyn, NY:
Leaving Southpaw, Hannah had come early as the rain beat down, and one could almost feel the shift into fall that very night – with soundtrack provided by Wild Sweet Orange.