IMG_0239With their face paint and era of dress seemingly from a bygone era, the Austin six-piece folk-pop band, Wild Child, looked like they had just jumped off  a gypsy caravan into the High Dive on their way through Gainesville last night as they continued on their Outside City Limits Tour. With infectious melodies, foot tapping and ass-winding rhythm and nary a guitar, Kelsey Wilson, Alexander Beggins and crew gave a performance that concert-goers will probably keep fresh in their minds for a long while.

“How many of you are feeling better right now than before you came in here?” Kelsey asked. WildChild1_Credit_Todd_V_WolfsonWebWhen nearly everyone in attendance raised their hands, “That’s what I’m talking about” she said. When Kelsey performs with her lovely voice and haunting violin she looks like she’s channeling something in-between an angel and a faerie. She literally looks like it is about to jump out of her body.

Alexander, standing alongside her, is a perfect musical match. When you look at him with beardless mustache, you swear to yourself you have seen him somewhere before. Perhaps a morph of Jim Croce and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, only reincarnated straight out of the womb with a ukulele. his vocals sound like an old friend spinning a tale with a little bit of wisdom injected for good measure.

IMG_6664Now, Gainesville on Friday night is a tough place to compete if you’re a musician. The Slims were having their CD release party at Loosey’s and the greatly popular Morningbell was also playing with them. At the Bo Diddley Plaza, the Imposters were playing Beatles covers to what looked like a several thousand. And at the brand new Wooly’s, Ricky Kendall and The Savants of Soul were also performing. What to speak of the Metal Chili Cook-off that was happening on South Main St. and Catholic Girls, Cretin Girls and Waylon Thornton & the Heavy Hands at Mars– and all within walking distance of each other.

My party took our walk, concert-hopping, half-worried about the shows we were missing, but we were sure happy we got to see the SXSW award-winning band of merry men and women, Wild Child, go through their wildly popular first album Pillow Talk and hit on songs from their second LP, due to drop on October 8 and produced by Ben Kweller called Runaround.

At the end of the show, which included their latest single “Crazy Bird,” the band invited people onstage to sing a new song they wrote on the spot, “Gainesville is the Greatest.”

After they dismounted the stage, though, it wasn’t quite over. Bringing audience participation to a new level, they got on the floor and sung off-mic in a very close and intimate fashion. So close, in fact, that it ended with one rather large group hug, Alexander and Kelsey smack in the middle.

The show led off with Tepu and Luke Davids, who I unfortunately didn’t get to see, because, as I told you, there was a lot going on that night.

When I talked to the band while I was picking up their first CD, I mentioned to the keyboard player, Evan Magers, that his key playing was great. I thought it helped to give the band its big sound, which can be a challenge for a band that has lead instruments of a uke and a violin. When I mentioned that he was Alexander’s cousin, he asked me how I knew. “He told me in an interview I did with him about a week ago,” I said. He smiled.

When I asked Alexander if he read the interview, he said he doesn’t like to read anything that he says because it often makes him feel embarrassed. But he thanked me and went outside to smoke a cigarette and get ready to jump back on the caravan.

Wild Child is Kelsey Wilson (violin & vocals) and Alexander Beggins (ukulele & vocals), along with Evan Magers (keys), Chris D’Annuzio (electric bass), Carey McGraw (drums) and Saide Wolfe (cello).

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