Happenings /// Apollo Wild at The High Watt

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What better day to release an album entitled No Love Lost than on Valentine’s Day? Okay, so maybe you’re not as tickled by such a scenario as I am. Nevertheless, that’s the type of savvy Apollo Wild enlisted when booking the release show for their apropos album. It was a mellifluous rendezvous guaranteed to exchange the paltry Valentine’s woes for those in attendance (your narrator included) for unabashed rock bravissimo.

Amidst an early crowd of lanyard-laden Budweiser employees in town for a presumed convention, local surrealist bard Kneel Jung chipped away at the rambunctious crowd. Following Jung’s deft deterioration of the Budweiser bunch, former fronter-turned-solo act Kelsey Kopecky played support with her Angel Olsen-adjacent brand of cool rock. But in the end, the evening went to (and was always going to go to) Apollo Wild.

Its interesting to see relatively young bands like Apollo Wild play in the ever-expanding (water is wet) live scene with an already fervent following. At any given moment during virtually every song in Apollo Wild’s set, there was some one hooting, hollering, or opining their love for the band. If I were another band simply in attendance, I’d be beside myself with envy at the type of admiration Apollo Wild managed to elicit with even the slightest of effort. Then again, I suppose that’s the allure of Nashville – the relative community of support that happens when everyone and their grandma is in some sort of band.

But I digress, let’s get down to the brass tacks – if Apollo Wild’s release show served as a barometer for their future, then their future is beaming with rock n roll brilliance. Sure, they’re relatively new and No Love Lost is their initial release, but you wouldn’t have known any better from their live presence. As referenced in their Nashville Five before the show, Apollo Wild has a rare opportunity to assume the mantle of Nashville’s next-wave of alt-rock bands, and they inserted themselves in such a position on Valentine’s Day.

Performing in a setting that felt like Punch Drunk Love meets Lost In Translation thanks in large part to Silver Cord Studio’s continual excellence in the live lighting realm, Apollo Wild ran the evening with rock aggro-heartsick musings. While I’ve taken strides to stress Apollo Wild’s alt-rock placement, there are aspects that bring about memories of lighter fare, such as Ryan Adams – namely front man Reece Presson.

Where most songs Presson took the lead, opining about whether or not anonymous muses’ boyfriends think of him or imagined Tinder dates with Buddhists – both very Adams-esque lyrical bemusement. Even still, there’s another aspect of dynamism to Apollo Wild’s live set that continues to pique the viewers’ interest, the dexterous guitar work of lead guitar man Phil Campbell. In certain blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments, Campbell’s guitar riffs would slip in and out of the forefront of a tune with the slightest of ease. But that’s not to forget Apolo Wild’s other members – Alex Rodriguez, Ethan Barton, and Chris Malone – all of whom held it down with prowess and power.

All in all, seeing Apollo Wild live makes for an interesting dynamic (at least in my own opinion), as there’s plenty of room for growth for the band, but there’s also an apparent factor of “it-ness.” Granted, I’ve only just coined that term – “it-ness” – but I can only hope the meaning is apparent. The combination of Apollo Wild’s brash live sound and exuberant energy all but supports the claim that they can and will be more than capable of assuming Nashville’s alt-rock mantle for years to come.

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