Wild kids in the house (sort of)

BY ANA BARRETT | JULY 17, 2014 5:00 AM

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For two years in a row, Wild Child has been named the Best Indie Band at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. At 9 p.m. July 20, Wild Child will play at Gabe’s, 330 E. Washington St. Iowa City band Teen Daad will open for it. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.

Wild Child is an indie-folk-pop band from Austin and has been on the rise since its début in 2011. The lead vocalists Kelsey Wilson and Alexander Beggins met while on tour, both supporting another band. The two quickly bonded because they were both in post-breakup situations and began writing music together. Upon returning from tours, Wild Child became complete with Drew Brunetti (drums), Sadie Wolfe (cello), Evan Magers (keyboards), James Bookert (banjo), and Chris D’Annunzio (bass).

“Well, the first album was created after the first major breakups of our lives, after dating our significant others for five or so years,” Wilson said. “So that first album is pretty much a heartbreak album; it is really honest, unhappy music. Our second one is more about ourselves, about discovering what you need and what you want and discovering that everyone is kind of a terrible person. There’s a more realistic view because there’s no point in not being honest.”

Wild Child’s songs are easily characterized by their catchy melodies and sweet tunes, but Wilson said their lyrics are more than what meets the ears. The contrast sets them apart from other emerging indie bands. Wilson cites her and Beggins’ musical influences as a key ingredient to their mix.

“I listen to old funk and soul exclusively — artists such as Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, etc.,” Wilson said. "[Beggins] listens to everything hip and cool I’ve never heard before, so we pull from different sides of the musical realm.”

Wild Child will continue touring the United States through the summer before heading to Europe for two months of shows. Tour manager Rylan Keturi said Wild Child has evolved in the last year and a half that he has managed it.

“They’re really coming together and clicking, and you can just tell they’re on,” Keturi said. “When they’re on, they’re on, and it is amazing. I never get tired of watching a show.”

This weekend, Keturi will also watch Teen Daad as it opens the concert. Teen Daad has three members, Jeff Roalson (guitar, vocals), Noel Nissen (drums), and Zach Ziemer (bass). Iowa City music enthusiasts might recognize Roalson and Nissen from their first band, the Olympics, which played a big role in founding Teen Daad.

“Teen Daad became a band because I had a lot of songs I had written, that were being developed, that didn’t work with the Olympics’ style or whatever,” Roalson said. “The whole idea with Teen Daad is to make music as simple as possible with how we put things together.”

Many of Teen Daad’s songs, he said, consist of happy-go-lucky melodies, but the content is not always quite the same.

“Teenage angst is always good for grunge rock,” Roalson said. “Underneath, what the songs are about and what is on the face of the song will be presented in a more friendly, poppy-rock way that is danceable.”

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