ALBANY — Wild Adriatic is a band that has been chomping at the bit to get back in front of live audiences, and has done so as of late, but not at the frequency in which they are accustomed.
Wednesday, Sept. 1, the band performs before its largest crowd in more than a year when it takes the stage at the Empire State Plaza at a show it shares with Troy’s favorite trio, Super 400.
The popular band has a fanbase that stretches across the northeast to points west, enabling it to keep busy throughout the year, outside of a raging pandemic. Since live music venues started opening up in March, Mateo Vosgianian and his bandmates have played a handful of shows spanning from North Creek in March to Powers Park this past weekend.
“As a band, we hadn’t really played any shows for almost 12 months,” Vosgianian said. “We just couldn’t wait. So, we took every offer that came our way and did our best with it.”
But to appreciate the work stoppage they suffered one must account that they usually book approximately 250 gigs each year. In 2020, that count was at 10.
This year marks the band’s 10th anniversary as a group. The boys are driving around in a relatively new touring bus, one in which Rich Derbyshire loves to demonstrate the headspace. It was an investment in which Vosgianian said the band could use another “15 years” after their old van up and died on them in 2019. The bus is relatively new, as it was a few months old when shutdowns were implemented.
Vosgianian is a career musician. There are players within the scene who work a 9-to-5 and let loose on the weekends. He’s the opposite. When he’s not behind the drum kit for Wild Adriatic, his priority is to perform on a stage with someone else before doing a non-music job. He is associated with as many as five different projects, some of which still involve singer and guitarist Travis Gray or keyboard player Dustin DeLuke.
Vosgianian isn’t the type to wish bad things upon anyone. Quite the opposite. Last year, he said he was on a vacation to Wisconsin with his mother when a stranger recognized him on the street. “Mateo?” the man asked, an apparent fan of the band. “Can I have a hug?” Without missing a beat, he agreed to the hug before the stranger went off on his way. He then looked at his mother, who was confused by what she saw. Her son’s a serial hugger. He’s developed that reputation at shows. He’s a bit of a teddy bear standing with his envious full beard at the merch table dishing out hugs to those who ask.
Hugs aside, Vosgianian said he’s “all masked up” and invested in the hand sanitizers. The first few shows he’s played have been done with an abundance of caution. He and Travis have played shows “behind shower curtains,” he said, for the added protection. Nonetheless, coming back to that habit of playing live music has him feeling right again.
“I remember the first time we really played out to a crowd after COVID started — about a full calendar year after — the vibe was such a release for both ends,” he said. “And now, it’s very much like that same image.”
As current headlines point to another surge in the infection rate, Vosgianian said there is a bit of uncertainty clouding what may lay ahead. This time of year, the band is usually out or plotting their course out west. But as the Delta variant plays out in other parts of the country, “we still can’t plan for the future. We can’t book a whole tour not knowing whether or not we’ll be able to execute it.”
However, Wild Adriatic fans can anticipate a new album release this fall. The full-length album will be the follow-up to its 2017 release “Feel.” In a podcast episode of “Boom Chuck,” Vosgianian told Chris Phillips that the band was drifting back to its roots. Though a tracklist has yet to be finalized, he said a few tracks should feature some of the riff rock sound from the band’s earlier days.
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