This Wild Life brings first headlining tour to Denver, focuses on positive life messages

Alec Erickson

Hundreds of people crammed themselves into a small venue in Denver for a rock concert Friday evening. However, this wasn’t your average rock show. This was a show where the main headliner was in fact an acoustic rock duo. Just two men and their guitars were more than enough to fill Cervantes’s Other Side with hundreds of raving fans of This Wild Life, shouting along to all their favorite songs. The atmosphere and theme for the night was for those going through difficult times.

The night started out strong. When the first of two bands from California took the stage. Movements, based out of Orange County, California, immediately took the stage by storm. Before you knew it, kids were shouting along to the post-hardcore punk music. The band’s set was limited to a short six song set. That didn’t stop the non-stop mosh pits or fans from taking the stage to go stage diving. The set included some of the bands more popular tracks like “Worst Wishes” and “Kept.” One common thing that you see with every performer that comes to the mile high city is eventually the altitude gets to them. For Movements, even before they made it half way through the set you could tell it was starting to get to the band. As a result, there wasn’t much banter between tracks, or really even much interaction with the crowd. The set felt rushed, but set the tone for how the rest of the night would go.

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Movements' vocalist Patrick Miranda performing "Worst Wishes" Photo credit: Chapman Croskell

Before you knew it, it was a matter of minutes before Baltimore based alternative rock band, Have Mercy, took the stage. The amount of time between sets for the entire night was oddly short. It was almost non-stop music all night long. When Have Mercy took the stage, they kept the energy of the night flowing. Starting with some of their more well-known songs like “Space Crafts.” While the crowd for this set were more into singing along then moshing, it was still a pretty decently long set. Only eight tracks long that ended with probably one of their loudest tracks, “Two Years.”

Have Mercy arguably had some of the most entertaining banter between songs. With lead vocalist, Brain Swindle, saying, “I’ll write a song about it.” When talking to guitarist Andrew Johnson about their leg of the tour coming to an end. The band then proceeded to tell the crowd that were working on a new full length record, which then the crowd couldn’t hardly contain their excitement. As most bands do now when they visit Colorado, there was a dedicated part of their time on stage talking about legalization of marijuana and telling of stories as a result. It was a much more lighthearted and humorous interaction with the crowd, and most people were laughing along with most of what the band had to say on that night. Just like Movements though, you felt like the band was getting rushed to play. They finished their set and immediately things were getting set up for the main act of the night.

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Have Mercy's bass guitarist Nick Woolford performing. Photo credit: Chapman Croskell

In a matter of a minutes, This Wild Life took to the stage. While the overall energy of the crowd was still very much into the show, the tone shifted slightly. As the mosh pits stopped, and cell phone screens illuminated the floor. We moved from a hardcore punk show to a much more intimate acoustic set. While it wasn’t just acoustic guitars, we did see more electronic and drum elements that more accurately reflect their newest record. With the band coming out and starting their time on stage with one of their tracks of their recently released sophomore record “Pull Me Out.” Their set contained a good mix of tracks between “Clouded” and “Low Tides.” There was even a cover of Twenty One Pilots’ “Stressed Out.” This Wild Life also had some of the most creative transitions between their songs, including playing the “Stranger Things” theme track right before “Hit The Reset.” The band even asked the crowd to remain silent for “Just Yesterday,” which they did. Shortly afterwards, they were back to singing along to ever other song the band had for the night.

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This Wild Life's guitarist Anthony Del Grosso, reaching out to the crowd. Photo credit: Chapman Croskell

This Wild Life took a lot of time between songs to also talk to the crowd, focusing on mainly what this tour meant to the two. Lead vocalist, Kevin Jordan, told the crowd, “This tour has allowed us to go back and visit a lot of our older songs that we don’t normally have a chance to play.” This was all buildup to the band playing “Pink Tie” off of their self-released E.P. “Heart Flip,” which is a track that Jordan wrote about his father not being around. Much of the band’s work has been about about some of the hardest times in life, and the band wanted to reassure the crowd that things can always get better. It was some nice sentiment for sure, and before you knew it, the two track encore had rolled around. This Wild Life ended the night with a song from both “Clouded” and “Low Tides,” choosing to play “Concrete” and “Falling down.”

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This Wild Life's lead vocalist Kevin Jordan performing. Photo credit: Chapman Croskell

Just like that, the
whole concert was over in just over two and half hours, which is incredibly unusual
for a rock concert with three acts. In that short amount of time, before
everyone made the awkward shuffle into the Denver night, three bands were able
to remind a room full of a few hundred people that they weren’t the only ones
who go through a hard time now and then.