Spring W.I.L.D. 2014 Contenders

This year, Social Programming Board took a page out of the Congress of the South 40’s book and sent out a list of 10 bands that could possibly play at spring W.I.L.D. 2014, asking students to rank them from 1-10 in a survey. The choices were greeted with encouragement and acclaim on Twitter and Facebook. If any of these bands are actually booked, spring W.I.L.D. will definitely be the most memorable in a while. Cadenza breaks down each band’s possible appeal to the Washington University crowd.


AWOLNATION, the Los Angeles-based band fronted by Aaron Bruno, will have the widest crossover appeal for the diverse Wash. U. student body. Although it’s often branded as electronic rock, mainly due to the band’s best-known single, “Sail,” a hard-hitting and grungy track, AWOLNATION draws from a much wider pool of genres than people may think. A listen to its debut album, “Megalithic Symphony,” reveals the punk, soul and hip-hop that infuses every song, from upbeat and ironically childlike “Kill Your Heroes,” to the breathless and angry “Burn It Down.” Quite simply, AWOLNATION would have something for everyone. Moreover, Bruno has an enormous and dynamic stage presence that never fails to rile up a crowd (as opposed to the rather lackluster Chance the Rapper) even if the audience doesn’t know the songs it’s dancing to. As evidenced by the band’s sold-out show at The Pageant last year, AWOLNATION knows how to work and engage audience members without simply hitting them over the head with its loud and brash style. Consider AWOLNATION a dark horse in this race. –Kayla Hollenbaugh


Most people probably hadn’t heard of Bastille at this time last year, but thanks to the smash success of its single “Pompeii,” the London-based quartet has quickly become one of the most buzzed-about bands of 2013. In fact, that’s probably the band’s biggest advantage over otherwise similar W.I.L.D. prospects like Grouplove, AWOLNATION and Young the Giant—all those bands’ hit singles are so 2012. Plus, Bastille’s infectious, alt-pop sound will bring more energy to the usually more laid-back spring W.I.L.D. Dance-y hit “Pompeii” will obviously be a crowd-pleaser while other singles like “Flaws” and “Things We Lost in the Fire” will also get people swaying and clapping along. Unfortunately, Bastille is already set to play at The Pageant this December while on tour with Phoenix, which may decrease the band’s chances of coming back in the spring. Then again, the December show is already sold out, so maybe Bastille will feel the St. Louis love and be eager to come back. –Katharine Jaruzelski

Capital Cities


Though you might not recognize its name, you’re bound to recognize this band’s most well-known song. The indie pop anthem “Safe and Sound,” with its infectious synthesizers and triumphant trumpets, became a rare crossover hit this summer, reaching the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The video, which features the duo of Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian in a dance-off with projections of historical dancers from the Los Angeles Theatre, has amassed more than 40 million views on YouTube. That’s not to say Capital Cities is a one-hit wonder that will have audiences waiting the whole set just for that song. The band has a number of other amazing songs from its 2013 debut album, “In a Tidal Wave of Mystery.” “Love Away” is a sunny, mid-tempo Sunday drive of a song while “I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo” features similar elements to “Safe and Sound” with an infusion of nu-disco. My personal favorite, “Farrah Fawcett Hair,” combines the wildly different elements of an NPR disc jockey, Andre 3000 and a gospel choir into an absolute bop, with one of the best choruses in indie pop in a good while. Simply put, it’s good s—. –Georgie Morvis

Childish Gambino

Maybe you know him as Donald Glover, the stand-up comedian and writer, or maybe you know him as Troy Barnes, the goofy college student on “Community.” Hopefully, you know him as Childish Gambino, the rapper whose songs are so smart and honest you’re left feeling like he just blew your mind. While he started out releasing mixtapes and albums on his own, he released his first studio album, “Camp,” in 2011, and his second studio album, “Because The Internet,” is scheduled to be released on Dec. 10. His raps often deal with family, race, growing up, bullying and fame, and his mixtapes often feature some other really great artists. One of my personal favorites is “Real Estate,” from his newest mixtape, “R O Y A L T Y,” in which Tina Fey has a verse (Glover wrote for “30 Rock”). Childish Gambino should come to spring W.I.L.D. because he will be fresh off of his newest album and will certainly want to promote it. Plus, now that he is leaving “Community” halfway through the season in order to focus more on his music, Gambino will have plenty of time to swing by St. Louis and remind us all “why does every black actor gotta rap some? I don’t know, all I know is I’m the best one.” –Elena Wandzilak


It feels like Grouplove has been in St. Louis a countless number of times in the past couple of years, but that makes the band an even better choice for next semester’s W.I.L.D. because it must know and love the crowds in this area. Grouplove has been through the extensive festival circuit several times, honing its lighthearted indie pop for maximum crowd appeal and singalong opportunities. Yes, it may be another one of those indie bands cashing in on the current honey-sweet female-male vocal trend, but Grouplove does it well, and the band manages to separate itself from its counterparts by acknowledging its pop appeal wholeheartedly. Songs like “Tongue Tied” and “Naked Kids” showcase this aspect perfectly. The band’s most recent album, “Spreading Rumours,” released earlier this year, may have been a move into more experimentation, but that would provide for a more varied and intriguing show than what the band may have put on in St. Louis in the past. However, the fact that Grouplove lost out on the WUStock vote last year doesn’t bode well for this relatively small New York band, especially as fans have already had plenty of opportunity to see a Grouplove concert. –Kayla Hollenbaugh


There’s a reason Krewella has come to St Louis several times in the last two years. People love the band, and Wash. U. students are no exception. Krewella’s music is great—the band’s on the rise, and the atmosphere of its concerts is crazy. Since its concerts are consistently upbeat and wild, why hasn’t the group already come for spring W.I.L.D.? It’d be a pleasant switch for spring W.I.L.D. to be upbeat, and electro house music is a great way to do it. Krewella would make spring W.I.L.D. an unforgettable experience and a party atmosphere, much more like fall W.I.L.D.s than the traditionally calmer spring W.I.L.D.s. Krewella’s current Get Wet tour will be over long before the time of spring W.I.L.D., so the band should have time in its schedule to book W.I.L.D. So let’s get Krewella to come here so we can “Live for the Night” (of W.I.L.D.), and everyone is sure to feel so “Alive” as Krewella will be “Killin’ It” in Brookings Quadrangle. –Caroline Gutbezahl

Local Natives

Some music just sounds better outside. Local Natives have proven to be a band that fits that category. Their set at LouFest this past September was high-energy and more than provides the evidence that they would make a great W.I.L.D. headliner. Sure, the fact that they were here only two months ago could be held against them, but other groups on this list will have performed in St. Louis more recently than LouFest by the time of spring W.I.L.D. Their particular blend of vocal harmonies and dreamy guitar riffs are as Californian as it gets (they hail from Los Angeles), but they still rock enough to be a good fit for W.I.L.D. Two albums in, they avoided the sophomore slump with this year’s “Hummingbird,” a well-reviewed album that saw them refine and improve on their sound. They certainly aren’t the highest-energy band on this list, but with two very solid albums, they’ve got the discography to be able to put on a very good (and long) set, something that would be nice after Chance the Rapper’s disappointingly ¬short set this fall. –Trevor Leuzinger


“Meh” was my first thought when scrolling through the spring W.I.L.D. ballot Monday afternoon. My patience for mild-mannered indie pop bands has grown perilously thin in the past few years, and it brought me no small share of disappointment to see a list dominated by inoffensive teenybopper bands. Sure, Bastille and Grouplove may be perfectly pleasant (if somewhat boring) on record, but that won’t cut it on stage. In a live setting, I want danger, flair, charisma. I want someone who won’t require copious amounts of alcohol to enjoy (sorry, Krewella), someone who’ll grab me by the collar until I have no choice but to give him my undivided attention. Once I reached the eighth entry on the list, I immediately knew who my first choice would be: Miguel. A natural showman with style to spare, he has a distinct knack for mining rhythm and blues past and present. But it’s his magnetism that allows him to pull off songs like “How Many Drinks?” in which he asks a potential suitor how many drinks he must buy her before she comes home with him. In the wrong hands, such a sentiment could play as predatory, but Miguel’s charm overwhelms any ethical concerns. Though he’ll be joining Drake at the Scottrade Center on Dec. 11, spring W.I.L.D. would provide Miguel the opportunity to shine on his own. –Mark Matousek

Portugal. The Man

The oldest and most experienced band on this list, Portugal. The Man has been making music since 2004, and the band’s maturity shows in the precision of its live shows, fusing music with dreamlike light shows and art by band member John Gourley himself (if Portugal. The Man wins, it can hopefully bring this same experience to Brookings Quadrangle). With roots in Alaska and Portland, it doesn’t really get much cooler than this band, which has a storied catalogue of psych-rock. Its latest album, “Evil Friends,” produced by Danger Mouse, proved that the band can have a more pop-oriented side, and each track showcases vastly different inspirations and genres from punk to electronica. For one thing, it’s guaranteed that Portugal. The Man’s W.I.L.D show wouldn’t be boring, although the band’s tendency to move into extended trance-like jam sessions may not be the best fit for those looking to jump around drunkenly during the concert. The band would be the perfect fit if SPB wants to go for a more laid-back, chilling-on-an-inflatable-sofa kind of vibe, but its doubtful if Portugal. The Man will draw many student votes due to its eclectic output. –Kayla Hollenbaugh

Young the Giant

This indie-rock band has songs catchy enough to win over anyone who might not know it. Chances are, however, you at least know of the band. Its 2010 debut self-titled album and the singles from that album, “Cough Syrup” and “My Body,” brought the band considerable acclaim and notice from the alternative music scene and even a good amount of popular radio play (as well as a cover on “Glee”). This praise largely derived from the band’s ability to craft hooks and melodies with wide appeal—perfect for a spring day and a student audience. “Cough Syrup” in particular is perfect for an inebriated shout-singalong, too. Lead singer Sameer Gadhia is known for his expressive and powerful vocals, the perfect overlay to his band’s carefully crafted songs, electrifying them even more in the live setting. Moreover, Young the Giant is set to release a new album in January next year, so even if you’ve seen the band live before, it’ll definitely have some new material to play for fans and converts alike on the Brookings Quadrangle stage. –Kayla Hollenbaugh

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