WAVVES (photo: Joshua Hernandez)
“I got enemies, a million enemies / but baby, I am feeling fine” ends the chorus to one of the marquee tracks on WAVVES’ latest release You’re Welcome. It’s a nod to project-head Nathan Williams’ media-reputation as indie rock’s spoiled child that also anchors yet another uncompromising hook from the thirty year-old Los Angeles resident.
The self-proclaimed King of the Beach pulled from his entire bag of tricks for a sold-out Saturday night show at the Independent this weekend. His four-piece band ripped through 19 songs over the course of an hour and a half, a blistering display of Williams’ ear for the simple and catchy melody punctuated by snippets of banter from the crowd and a few stories about puking blood.
Swigging from a bottle of Jameson throughout the night, Williams’ vocals were rougher than the album cuts — a Cobain-esque scratch making its mark on the sugar-sweet fuzz riffs. Meanwhile, the rest of the band was sharp and swaggering, a cool disinterested professionalism as their mode of operation.
Overall, the young and enthusiastic crowd never stopped bumping in the shoulder-pit, and why would they? Wavves elected to play hit after hit after hit from early cuts like “Idiot” and “So Bored” to the Grand Theft Auto-commissioned “9 is God.” The set list was pummeling in the best way possible.
Our night ended with a frantic version of the lovesick ballad “Green Eyes,” perhaps Williams’ most clear tribute to the loud-soft-loud dynamic of his influences and arguably his best song. Despite his lyrics and their heavy championing of apathy, Wavves’ excellent live concerts continue to betray the man behind the band. He cares, and now it shows.