Stubb’s floors shook with excessive dancing as the venue hosted the sixth annual Waller Creek Conservancy Benefit with the adorable and energetic duo Oh Wonder.
Story by Hayli Rudolph
Photos by Iris Bilich
The official Austin City Limits late night show brought out not only music lovers, but also park enthusiasts on Wednesday. If the acts of Jaymes Young and Oh Wonder didn’t make people want to stop by, than knowing that all proceeds from the night would benefit the Waller Creek Conservancy did.
The Waller Creek Conservancy is an ongoing growth of parks that house several music venues including Stubb’s and the backYARD, running alongside the Waller Creek through downtown Austin. The partnership with the city of Austin will include 37 acres of park land and three miles of trail systems. The creek will be laced with art, educational programs and many more attractions, providing a little something for everyone.
At the benefit concert, the weather offered a lingering, cool breeze, seamlessly complementing the clear sky to enhance the already perfect lineup. Jaymes Young kicked the night off, getting the audience relaxed and ready for the headliners.
In between the two performers, the large white awning that hung above the crowd was projected with photos and information about how to donate to the conservancy. A sign along the balcony read “Text ‘GIVE’ to: 512-548-8836.” Several audience members were spotted donating while they patiently awaited Oh Wonder.
The stage finally darkened, drawing all eyes to the front. The silence was interrupted by the cheers from an excited audience and the first few notes of “Dazzle,” as the beloved alternative pop group from London raced onto the stage.
The back of the stage was illuminated by small vertical lights that formed the shape of an “O” and “W,” giving the audience a perfect sillouhette of the singers, Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West.
Oh Wonder had all of Stubb’s swaying, if not completely busting out in their grooviest dance moves as the duo played tracks off their lively second album “Ultralife.” “Austin, who wants to dance with us?” West asked, as he led the way to their next song “Heavy.” When the set came to a slower pace, the band shared their day’s adventures of touring a hot sauce shop, eating barbeque and attending a soulcycle class earlier that day in Austin.
Vander Gucht then took a more serious passionate demeanor as she encouraged the audience to chase after their dreams, no matter how big or small they may seem. Her monologue elegantly faded into “All We Do,” a slower track off their first self-titled album. “If there’s anything that you guys have, if it’s a little tiny dream or this wild magic adventure that you want to embark on, if it’s what you want to say in offer to the world, if it’s who you want to meet, or what you want to be, whatever it is, if you want to save a freaking creek, then you can do it,” Vander Gucht says.
Oh Wonder wrapped up the evening with their well-known single “Drive.” The audience left it all on the floor, throwing their hands wildly in beat with the music as beads of sweat dripped down their faces and they jumped to the final moments of the night.
As Oh Wonder’s last lyrics “loving you,” lingered in the air, the audience exited the venue with smiles and satisfaction.