I’ve written about Wild Orchid Children before, most likely in context of their “other” band Kay Kay and His Weather Underground or their guitarist Thomas Hunter’s solo album. Wild Orchid Children are something different. Where their counter band Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground is peaceful, beautifully orchestrated folk music, Wild Orchid Children is the opposite, rowdy psychedelic thrash metal. Both bands have the same core group of members, just substitute Kay Kay’s string section for WOC’s percussion section and take up the intensity.
On stage it seems like these guys can’t be contained. American flags are draped over every piece of their equipment displaying their unique style of patriotism. The band starts with a powerful explosion of noise, alien space ships can be heard in the distance, Kirk Huffman screams and his voice’s echo effects spiral out and fill up the room. 4 people pound away on their own drums, Andy Lum on the drum set while the three others are on bongos, tambourines and other percussion tools. One of the craziest parts of their show is witnessing Thomas Hunter loose himself on stage. Watching Hunter play guitar is a wicked sight, he howls along with the songs, jumping around stage attempting to play every note possible on his guitar. The craziest part is that he pretty much succeeds; he has as much control over that guitar as any ordinary man has over his own arm. His eyes will often lock, seemingly putting him in a trance; I swear I am almost convinced he is channeling Jimi Hendrix.
They played most of the songs off their debut album “We Are Alexander Supertramp” (yes, a reference to Into the Wild), furiously jamming hard without much pause between songs. Despite the scattered effects-heavy vocals, songs like ‘Gasoline Rainbows (Jesus is a Black Man)’ and ‘Ahead of Us the Secret’ encouraged the audience to sing along even if you didn’t know what he was saying. Howls, chanting, and any form of insanity are encouraged.
One of the cool things about seeing Wild Orchid Children at the Vera Project is that it is all ages. This can be a bummer for those of us who are of age to drink, and like to drink at shows, but I for one forget how crazed underage kids can be. They have the inhibitions of a drunk person except they also have an innocent mindset, one that understands the music they like more passionately than people who have gone ill over life’s experiences. The crowd at the Vera Project was having a great time, jumping around and chanting alongside these Wild Orchid Children. Huffman had a very genuine moment between songs explaining how much of a pleasure it is playing for an all ages scene as opposed to the typical drunk bar crowd.
If you are one that wants to drink a beer while witnessing this wildness, they’re going to be playing at Chop Suey in June.