Neon cowboy hats, broken instruments, and a whole lot of sweat marked the Sinclair as alternative rock band The Wrecks played to a sold out crowd in Cambridge, MA on Saturday, July 9th as part of their “Better Than Ever Tour”. Joined by fellow collaborators Mothé and girlhouse, the night overflowed with a palpable energy and eclectic variety of alternative music. Reeling off the high from the previous night’s show in NYC at Webster Hall, their biggest headlining show to date, each act performed with an obvious giddiness, confidence, and swagger that ultimately added a great value to the already fantastic show.
The first performer of the night, Mothé, also doubles as The Wreck’s touring guitarist (contributing also with keys, synth, and tambourine), playing double duty with a small break in between as girlhouse graces the stage in the second slot. Primed and ready to go, The Wreck’s neon-illuminated entrance was greeted with ear-piercing screams and a floor that rumbled beneath your feet. The set was kicked off with “Out Of Style” followed by a handful of other tracks from their 2020 album, Infinitely Ordinary. Sonder, their highly lauded sophomore album, varies in sound and style, creating a rich dynamic that fueled that flow of the show. Tracks like “Dystopia,” “I Love This Part,” and title track “Sonder” energized the crowd to immeasurable levels and proved The Wreck’s passion is certainty in their live performances.
“This was the first show on the entire tour to sell out,” lead singer Nick Anderson told the crowd in between tracks. “Which means that this tour has been sold out for three fucking months… That means a whole lot to us, so we’re gonna give all our energy back to Boston tonight. Now, you bought your tickets before the new album came out, so you really didn’t have a choice whether or not to like the new songs. Let’s sing along if you know them.” Spoiler alert: the crowd knew them, tenfold. The 500-capacity venue remained charged with the crowd’s unrelenting energy and devotion. Jumping tirelessly, fans shouted every lyric with such a fervent and emotional passion it was quite revealing to the band’s impact.
The Wreck’s sound is consistent, yet still manages to play with genre in a way that many alternative bands attempt, but don’t always execute to this standard. Their distinctive sound makes great use of high-tempo rock, with catchy choruses laced with clever and often cutting lyricism. Tracks were powered by drums that punch through you and pop punk-meets-grunge infused guitar and bass. Their 80-minute set did not once deviate from Anderson’s impressive vocal range and the band’s tight precision. Their discourse spurs a sense of privilege being able to watch this group of people that clearly have the time of their lives just being up there together. They play as if the crowd is an added bonus, which is something that makes their show even more special. Joking and riffing between songs, they stole fans phones for pictures and guitarist Nick “Schmizz” Schmidt whipped out an on the spot solo of Van Halen’s “Eruption,” promoted by the encouragement of “play something that someone who has never played Guitar Hero is gonna think is really cool.”
Clad in a bright orange jumpsuit, Anderson nearly resembled a busted-out inmate as he thrashed across the stage and later joked about it being too warm to have worn such a constricting outfit. Fighting a one-man battle with his mic stand through the show and breaking a guitar string during his solo performance of “Ugly Side,” Anderson powered through with humor and professionalism, all while maintaining his indelible stage presence and sarcastic-toned quips. He performed two acoustic tracks solo, as the band stepped off stage to recuperate. Softer moments during tracks “Normal” and “Ugly Side” created a deep, emotional breakdown of the set (cue the cell phone flashlights and many tears). Lyrics like “I just wanna see the world like everybody else does/ I just wanna fall in love like everybody else does/ How come it’s so hard for me, how come it’s so hard for me?/ What does it take to be normal?” followed by the dark humor of “She asked if I’m a psychopath/ I said, “How the hell should I know that?”/ Is it really that bad?” connected Anderson with his audience on a deeper and infinitely personal level that matched the venue’s tight quarters.
“Figure This Out,” “I Love This Part,” and “This Life I Have” proved to be highlights of the night, erupting with an energy that intensely filled the room. A memorable moment was provided near the end of the show when Mothé and girlhouse joined in on “Where Are You Now,” a track off Sonder that features girlhouse. The three singers shared a microphone as the song poured out of them in a captivating and beautiful four minutes, before transitioning into the 2018 hit “James Dean”. They closed the show with two encore tracks of “Infinitely Ordinary” and “Favorite Liar”, the 2016 debut single that kick-started their career. The “Better Than Ever Tour” runs until the end of July, and trust that this will be your last chance to see them in a run of small venues. The Wreck’s are set on a trajectory to dominate the alt-rock sphere, where their multifaceted talents and electric ambitions will make them a name to behold.