Wild Adriatic brought its show to the Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs with a bit more hype than a typical show. The three-piece rock band, based out of Albany, announced months ago it was going to record a live album on February 20 in the Spa City. For a group that has been on a straight upward trajectory, which included an appearance at Bonnaroo last year after winning a lengthy Battle of the Bands put on by the Den, Wild Adriatic seems to have the hunger and determination to rise to the top of the rock world.
But before the near capacity crowd would be treated to two hours of in-your-face rock and roll by Wild Adriatic, Greenwich-based Let’s Be Leonard set the tone for the evening with a jazzy, up-tempo performance that lends itself somewhat to Steely Dan-meets-Herbie Hancock. The five-piece — displaying two guitars, bass, drums and a saxophone — weaved together a show reminiscent of a sunny Saturday afternoon set at a small festival. Guitarist Matt Griffin and saxophonist Connor Dunn traded solos over Karl Bertrand’s chunky rhythm and Chris Cronin’s bopping bass. Paul Gauy provided the beat.
Toward the end of Let’s Be Leonard’s set, the Den grew crowded as fans filled in to support the local boys. Wild Adriatic’s drummer, Mateo Vosganian, was darting around the venue, greeting friends and fans. There was a festive and mildly rowdy feel, as many people had undoubtedly enjoyed the Saratoga Beer Summit in the hours prior.
As soon as the trio took the stage, the energy in the room grew electric. “Never Enough,” “Letter,” “Tight Grip” and “Lonely” started the show and saw guitarist Travis Gray and bassist Rich Derbyshire hop around the stage. Gray’s voice is a solid fit for their sound, which has a classic rock with an edge feel. The crowd in the front sang along as the band kicked it up with some fiery guitar work from Gray.
After a breather, they launched into the Led Zeppelin favorite “The Ocean.” Gray again danced up and down the fret board with precision. “Can’t Be Your Man,” “Woe” and “Because of Me” continued the energetic theme. A spirited take on Neil Young’s “Keep On Rockin’ in the Free World” showcased Gray’s vocal abilities.
Derbyshire and Vosganian provide an air tight rhythmic combo that gives Wild Adriatic a sound that is unique, funky and noticeable. Add in Gray’s fret work, and the band has a winning combination, no better displayed than during the show-closing combo of “Good Times, Bad Times”>”Communication Breakdown.” The crowd hadn’t thinned out at all and judging by the satisfied look on most faces, Wild Adriatic accomplished what it set out to do. It will be exciting to see how the raw energy translates to tape.
Wild Adriatic Setlist:
Never Enough, Letter, Tight Grip, Lonely, The Ocean, Can’t Be Your Man, Woe, Because of Me, Trouble, 40 Days 40 Nights>Rockin In The Free World>40 Days 40 Nights, Heavy Soul, The Fool, The Spark, Cooperstown, Use Me, Bound To Let You Go, Lose My Mind, Strange Persuasions, Mess Around
Encore: Untitled New Song, Superstition, Good Times Bad Times>Communication Breakdown
Let’s Be Leonard Setlist:
Jumpship, Rocky Road, Open Your Eyes, Comet> High and Dry, Most Days> LGWC> Most Days> Sad Town tease> Boy Into Man> Pourdungchoo> Sad Town, TOT, Wandering Frisbee