Wild Belle Transport Bowery Ballroom Audience to a Warmer PlaceOctober 9th, 2013
Wild Belle brought their playful brand of blue-eyed reggae to a sold-out Bowery Ballroom last night. The brother-sister duo of Elliot and Natalie Bergman hail from Chicago, an unlikely source for their blend of poppy island rhythms. Sister Bergman has vocals reminiscent of Duffy’s—if she’d taken a trip to Jamaica and had a few drinks with Rihanna in Barbados—while her older brother is a talented multi-instrumentalist and producer, charming with the baritone saxophone when not on the organ.
They began the night with “Twisted,” an infectious calypso tune that instantly had the crowd swaying beneath a haze of smoke. Under the spell of Natalie’s sultry crooning, it was easy to imagine being transported to warmer climates and forget winter is approaching. She couldn’t seem to believe they were performing in New York City, remarking that playing the venue was like “a dream come true.” The duo, accompanied by a full band, got people grooving even more with “Happy Home” and “Backslider,” slower tempos well-suited for after-parties and last call.
The engaged audience sang along to the hit “Love Like This” and cheered for brother Elliot when he launched, laughingly, into “When It’s Over” after a brief miscue. He displayed his forte with the sax during the jazzy introduction to the reggae lite “June,” then kept the party going with the bouncy, stripped-down “Shine.” They ended the set with the popular “Keep You,” Natalie appropriately singing, “Every minute that I spend on you/ I give you honey and I give you truth.” They returned to the stage for an encore cover of Evelyn “Champagne” King’s “I’m In Love.” Under the disco lights and haze of blissed-out fans, we couldn’t have asked for a better end to the night … unless it was beneath the stars at the beach. —Sharlene Chiu