On the back of releasing the critically-acclaimed debut album Wild Silence, the alt-country Americana quartet The Wandering Hearts went on their first UK headline sell-out tour recently, with Bush Hall in London as the final date.
It was a highly-anticipated date for those that have been riding The Wandering Hearts wave, and despite this show falling when the dubbed ‘Beast From The East’ hit the UK, only a handful of fans struggled to make it to the gig. As soon as AJ, Chess, Tara and Tim hit the stage with opener Fire And Water, the absent ones were made up with the crowd immediately singing at the top of their lungs and the screams that followed were deafening. What a way to warm up an extremely chilly night.
You may have heard it many times but the harmonies from this quartet really are on a different scale and Heartbreak Hotel, which showcased its thunderous beats, was a prime example of this. Within the first two tracks, the crowd were already on an emotional rollercoaster – whoever put this set-list together needs a nice big whiskey to toast this accomplishment.
The band made sure the crowd caught a slight breather with their debut Wish I Could with its infectious chorus. It’s hard to imagine that The Wandering Hearts have really only been together a few years, with 2017 almost catapulting them from nowhere. It’s lucky Thank Folk For That finally caught them that Summer and are now huge fans.
The album was played in its entirety, but Chess and Tara got a chance to shine that bit brighter through the performance of album bonus-track Nobody’s Fool, which Tara claimed to gives them that extra ‘sass’ – though when they proceeded to go unplugged for Burning Bridges, the sass was still apparent! It’s great seeing a full band behind The Wandering Hearts but it’s also great that they give a nod to ‘when (they) were sitting around Tim’s coffee table.’ If the crowd were not already on their feet this was definitely standing ovation time.
Their debut album is a strong contender to being my album of the year and seeing the individuals behind it play live really makes each attendee feel like the band are singing directly to them, despite being in a jammed packed room. It’s only when the crowd-appreciation comes between songs that you remember you are there with fellow hearts wandering.
Writing this, I was running out of adjectives but I came across ‘beatitude’, which can be defined as ‘supreme blessedness’ – seeing Wild Silence performed live is basically this. With the bridge kicking in and every single soul clapping along there really was no other way to describe it. Seeing AJ, Chess, Tara and Tim feeding off each other and enjoying every single second was truly heart-warming, and the feelings got stronger as the night continued. If I hadn’t made a few mental notes, I probably would have forgotten the night due to that feeling of ‘living for the moment’ as I got lost in it, in a state of euphoria. Not one thing could be faulted and each moment was incredible. However, if I really had to pick a standout performance, then it would have to go to the epic Iona, with it’s haunting melody. And hats off to the amazing whistling from AJ that really put a stamp on it.
Party mode came with the striking Rattle, which led into the perfect encore and much deserved gin and tonics for the band, before we were given the gripping Change For The Good, followed by a choir-like response from the crowd as Devil left us exhilarated and wishing the night could go on forever.
This was The Wandering Hearts’ first headline tour and in small, intimate venues. But with both media and fan’s appreciation of this fine quartet, things are only going to get bigger and it seems quite quickly, as these four grafters have earned every single part of it with their feet firmly on the ground.
Words & Image by Victoria Ling