Live at In The Venue
Salt Lake City, UT
November 13, 2018
Review by Kevin Jewkes
The truth about The Wrecks is, they just might be 15-20 years too late. Their raw energy, catchy, if not somewhat bitter lyrics, would have been right at home at the turn of the century pop-punk revival. Their work ethic of relentlessly touring fits the model that brought so many acts to fame in years past. The Wrecks boast a small catalog of high energy songs, with just 8 songs released, the demand for live shows keeps them on the road, selling out venue’s as a headlining act, a rare feat in the world of Indie music these days. This headlining stop in Utah wasn’t sold out, but that’s because they’ve moved up from Kilby Court where they last headlined a sold out show to the larger “In The Venue” (for the record, the worst venue name in the history of venue names), and they just happened to be competing with the Grammy winning duo of 21 Pilots performing a few blocks away. Truth be told, if you found yourself at Vivint Smart Home Arena (what is with the name of venues in Utah?), while you may have been entertained, you were at the wrong show.
The Wrecks took the stage around 9:15 and started into the opening track off their Panic Vertigo EP (which I reviewed here) Figure it Out, followed by the powerful I Don’t Like You. The band’s energy is driven behind the brilliant drumming of Billy Nally, and the tightness of the band keeps the crowd bouncing. The band then transitioned into the track Panic Vertigo with singer Nick Anderson taking acoustic guitar duties; yet the energy didn’t dissipate. The band then broke out new song “The Life I Have”, with Anderson venting about all the things he hates, and, well, the things he loves. It was reminiscent of Nate Ruess being combined with Jesse Lacey. Brutal melodic honesty, a bit more punk than Ruess, and a lot less creepy than Lacey.
Mid-way through the set, the band left the stage, leaving Anderson with an electric guitar for a new track titled Rely followed by a stripped-down version of Revolution. While both sounded good, Rely needs more polishing before release, and Revolution could have been better suited with the full band at the closing of the show. The band then returned with energy through a few more tracks, and when the end of the set came, Anderson appeared to be running out of steam. I’m unsure if it’s due to the 4,000th time they’ve played "Favorite Liar", or maybe the altitude kicking in, the hit din’t seem to have the same je ne sais quoi as most of the set.
After a brief pause prior to the encore, the band closed with a solid rendition of Jet’s "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" and then an unreleased track called "Life". If it were my choosing, I’d like to hear the band break out a rendition of, maybe Sum 41’s "Fat Lip", or throw it back to the 80’s with Billy Joel’s "You May Be Right" – I think both could be in the bands wheel-house, with their own unique spin. At the end of the night, the crowd was sweaty, the band was exhausted, and the best band playing in Salt Lake City on Thursday night exited In The Venue to their NERF sponsored tour bus.
There aren’t many bands touring today that do what The Wrecks are doing – building a fan base through passionate performances, great social media presence, and honest, catchy music. If you’ve been on the fence about getting out to their show – get off the fence and get your tickets. Bands like this don’t come around often, enjoy them while you can. Tour dates here.