WILD! – Royal Standard, Walthamstow
TONIGHT IS a tragedy. Tonight Wild! sunk low and they know it. Tonight potential died on its feet and it’s not a pretty sight.
Unfortunate as it is, mildly Wild! are not yet a live band. Sure, they play on a stage but then so do strippers. Wild!, and vocalist Nikki Brookes in particular, are still impressed with a stage. They still treat it with respect. When you play to an audience of 18 it’s no use playing Rock ‘n’ Roll stars. It fools no-one.
Nikki Brookes is an experienced lady. She can sing to wake the dead but tonight she is out of context and out on her own. The between-song banter is embarrassing and the band know it. They kick with muscle before Nikki’s finished reading her cue-cards and sipping cider, cruelly cutting short the chat.
There’s a table of four in front of me. Boys and girls, friends of Nikki. She could have used the ten-feet gap between table and stage to scream in the faces of her friends. She could have crossed that divide and made tonight happen for those of us that bothered to turn out. Instead she winks at her friends and giggles like a Silly rock doll in spandex and scarves.
They have the material. ‘Don’t Look Back’ and ‘Starlight’ have true potential in the Big Boy Rock league, but tonight they fall flat on deaf ears. You may even have heard the Radio One sessions. They’ve been played twice.
Dave Wild exchanges lovers’ looks with Nikki and battles on with the show. He’s a fine player. Even on his back having tripped arse-over-tit. He should ditch the nut-crushing, purple-stretch strides and think about his songs. Forget about Steve Vai. Forget about Richie Sambora. Think Prince.
Wild! may just be too late for this bandwagon. They need humility and they need a serious re-think on their presentation. They don’t need the embarrassment of being refused an encore.
Nobody cheers. Nobody cries. There isn’t even any laughter. There is no reaction and that is sad. For a capable mainstream rock act to suffer the indignity of total indifference is to know the pits.