Golden Lady hit London's East End to check out Wavves:
Raucous, loud, sweaty and punky. Wavves are everything you want in a modern day Californian punk rock band.
Friendlier than Fugazi, darker than their musical ancestors, Minor Threat, yet poppier than Jay Reatard, with whom they share former members, they are a fun, clever, scuzzy band who prove throughout the night to be full of healthy contradictions.
A messy start to what continues to feel like a pretty messy show is, nonetheless, engaging and enthralling, largely due to the raw performance of band members and those smart, hooky power punk songs recalling threads of early Nirvana.
Founder and singer of the band, Nathan Williams punches through each track with apparent pride that forgoes any of the nonchalance he assumes between songs. Laughing at his own jokes and complaining about broken strings and bad sound doesn't quite suit the atmosphere, nor the bands reputation. But this doesn't seem to bother the mostly ‘young dude’ crowd who are waiting patiently for the next moment of fuzzed out guitar wattage and noise-inducing disharmony, which preempts nearly every track in the set.
Things are definitely more engaging when the band are playing, pouncing and swallowing up the sonic space with their potent melodies.
Opener King of the Beach remains one of the highlights of the show - a perfect combination of surf, pop-punk and melodic glory. Other tracks Take on the World and Green Eyes are standouts, the latter, with its unaffected lyrics (“My own friends hate me/But I don't give a shit”) and vocal waverings, once again channelling Kurt Cobain. Super Soaker reminds me of Best Coast, or perhaps it’s the other way around, who’s to know?
There are songs in between that tumble into the next without much consideration, my attention wafts in and out, occasionally focusing on a stupendously drunk girl who seems intent on body surfing into a mostly well-behaved crowd. But then the band hit with one of those perfect skuzzed out moments and all is forgiven.
Bruises and all, Wavves are undoubtedly an exciting buzz of a band, reaching for something more than just post teenage tantrums and vague ambition.
Review by Golden Lady. See her own blog here.
Photo borrowed with a loving kiss from our friends over at Rip It Up.