The Wrecks rock out at New Haven’s Toad’s Place

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Located smack dab in the middle of Yale University’s campus, Toad’s Place was the sight of this past Thursday’s headline show for alt-rock/punk band, The Wrecks. The venue sticks out like a sore thumb on the legendary Ivy League campus, almost like if they’d stuck The Bitter End onto a corner of Lincoln Center. The room is spacious and open, yet gives the feeling of being rustic, brooding, and grimy (in the best way possible). Whatever the vibe is, it’s no joke. Kendrick Lamar, Bob Dylan, and Cardi B, among many others, have played the room. It feels like the dirty little secret everyone knows about, and is most definitely a spot for students to go and raise some hell when they need to before heading back home to hit the books. 

The Wrecks, on tour in support of their new album, Sonder, brought the intensity and playful Halloween-themed energy to the stage that night, showcasing their collective passion for performing throughout the 80-minute set. 

Opening for The Wrecks was alternative band Arlie. Lead singer Nate Banks gives off serious Freddy Mercury energy with his long-flowing hair, glasses, vivacious stage presence, and shiny red jacket, which was left open to show his bare chest. Clearly a group of well-versed musicians, Arlie lit the crowd up with songs like, “Barcelona Boots,” and “Didya Think,” delivering strong vocals, extended instrumental transitions and outros, and well-timed vocal processing effects from a vocoder. Each member played their part, connecting with the audience and moving around the stage with ease and confidence. 

The Wrecks were up next, and very quickly set the tone for the rest of the night, opening with older cuts “Out Of Style,” “Figure This Out,” and “James Dean.” Lead singer Nick Anderson, from the first note, sounded, arguably, as close to perfection as you can get. You can tell that not only has he been extremely active vocally, therefore building up the stamina to get through long sets, but that he has been taking care of his voice just as much. It would be easy for adrenaline and the rigors of the road to take their toll, but, if they have, you wouldn’t know it. Anderson’s vocals flew out of him, and he, as any great singer can do, made it look like he was working much harder than he was. Physically, he let the music and the crowd fuel him, as he jumped around the stage throughout the night, but his voice never faltered. 

The crowd, particularly those directly in the middle of what was otherwise an energetic yet safe general admission clump, were loud, active, and clearly enamored by songs such as “James Dean,” “Sonder,” “Unholy,” and, most definitively, “Freaking Out.” That track, the opener of the bands 2020 record, Infinitely Ordinary, drew the loudest crowd response up to that point, with even those standing a bit further back screaming along to that infectious chorus; “I feel fine, the best I’ve felt in quite a while. I feel fine, I’ve waited for this all my life.” 

Nick seemed to be incredibly crowd-conscious throughout, repeatedly asking if everyone, especially those bunched up tight, was alright in between songs. Admirable and necessary actions knowing the ease in which concert-goers have gotten sick or have passed out since shows returned from the COVID hiatus. Other than that, all of his interactions were incredibly genuine, and all the boys seemed happy and grateful to be up there, feeding off the energy of the crowd. 

As the end of the show drew near, to order to ensure the crowds energy wouldn’t wane, they fired up their biggest hits, “Fvck Somebody” and “Favorite Liar,” as well as the high-octane “Ugly Side,” and Nick solo on the acoustic, “Where Are You Now.” However, the most special of the night didn’t come from a song. Just before playing, “Favorite Liar,” Anderson took the time to thank everyone involved in the production, from those working front-of-house to those working behind the scenes. He then declared there was one more person he needed to thank. Someone who taught him how to play the piano at just eight years old. His Grandma, “Grandma Anderson,” he called her, was sitting stage right, as close to the stage as physically possible. She had walked in, slowly, with her walker for assistance, but beaming with pride, just before the set began, and found herself a spot in front of the barricade. She remained there the entire show, and was, clearly, the proudest person in the room. Anderson ran offstage to embrace her, to thunderous applause from the crowd (and lots of tears from yours truly), then ran back on to close the show with “Favorite Liar.” For anyone in the room who may not have been a fan at the beginning of the night would be hard-pressed to say that they weren’t swayed in the 80 minutes the band was onstage. If they’re coming to a city near you, check them out on tour through November 19th

You can buy tickets here.

Check the band out on social media: Instagram // Facebook // Twitter // Tik Tok // YouTube  

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