Natural Child's Play

Nashville’s dirty rockers bring the punk-barnstomp to Soda Bar on Sunday

OK, so imagine that the Black Lips, Wavves, Growlers and Deer Tick all had this massive musician orgy -- Willie Nelson might have even jumped in, who knows? It was one of those things -- and straight from the birth canal of bad choices gone so good came Natural Child. Like a damn sonic boom. These are some Southern-rock boys with swagger, riding boozy licks all the way from Nashville to punch you in the face, then kiss it better this Sunday at Soda Bar.

Their terrible twos were pretty fantastic: Natural Child formed in 2009 and spent a solid two years on the road, writing, scratching and then releasing two albums just months apart in 2012.
"For the Love of the Game" and "Hard in Heaven" mesmerize the way a campfire soaked in whiskey eyes does -- without trying. That’s when it was just the three of them -- Wes Traylor (bass/vocals), Seth Murray (guitar/vocals), and Zack Martin (drums) -- humpin’ across the country in a van, playing 200 shows a year. They ran all the time -- and fast -- because they had just found their feet.

But something changed. They wanted more, to emulate a sound they’d been listening to a lot in the van, those give-it-all performances of the ’70s helmed by the likes Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. And so Luke Schneider joined on pedal steel and Benny Divine mastered some mad ivories. Together, the fivesome made "Dancin’ with Wolves," a step-creep of a record released earlier this year that plays pace with their earlier rowdy charm but fleshes out the story more, paying tribute to influences over a span of rebel waltzes.

Who the wolves are in this particular rebel dance, well, that’s TBD by those who shell out $8 this Sunday. That’s less than you paid for that tall-boy PBR last night, but what you get is way damn cooler (and far more satisfying, particularly with lyrics like "Don’t the time pass quickly when you're making love?" delivered without much sugar). Let these Nashville rockers make the cheapest love to your ears that money can buy on a Sunday night.

Natural Child plays Soda Bar on Sunday; doors are at 8:30 pm, $8, 21+. The Abigails and the Paragraphs open.

Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, recently moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.

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