[live review + video] Wavves + Fucked Up @ Royale
Williams has come a long way since Barcelona. The story has been well
told, and if you're even a remote fan of WAVVES, I'm certain you've
heard it. But for the uninitiated, a truncated version of the
happenings: Williams and then drummer Ryan Ulsh played Spain's Primavera
Sound Festival in early 2009. Some would say they were in the "buzz
band" stage of their not-long career, having just released their rather righteous second LP, Wavvves.
Reportedly, Williams ingested a pre-show cocktail consisting of
Ecstasy, Valium, and Xanex, mumbled on stage for 15-minutes, deservedly
got a bunch of shit thrown at him, and left the stage in an inebriated huff. They
cancelled the remainder of their European tour and Ulsh quit the band.
destined to pay for his shittiness and never be seen or heard from
again, Williams has actually done quite the opposite, meaning he's
everywhere. His eventual followup LP, King of the Beach, was legitimately fucking awesome (imho), he formed one of the most annoyingly twee indie power couples of all time, and his music is getting spins on MTV. Also, he allegedly got Tyler, the Creator's mom into the VMAs, which is pretty fucking cool.
case anyone was wondering, my moment of complete forgiveness for Wavves
came this past Friday at Royale. Now touring with a full backing band,
there's nothing to hate anymore. Sure, detractors will still cling to
the fact that William's is nasally, annoying, etc. etc. But you'd
literally have to be a stone cold cynic to have been in that room and
not have been able to muster at least a slight grin as a result of their
going to sound like an ass saying this -- others have before me, it
still feels blasphemous though -- but at one point Williams fell
backwards on the stage while he was shredding his guitar and I couldn't
help but think of Cobain. Admittedly, the recollection was probably
thanks to the recent outpouring of Nevermind essays,
but it was still very palpable and somewhat eerie. Obviously, Wavves
will never make music as influencial as Nirvana's -- no one will -- and
Williams' brashness will never touch that of Cobain -- no one's will --
but there are some parallels to be drawn between the two groups'
ubiquitous punk sensibilities. Okay, I'm officially revoking my own
rights to ever cover music again, anywhere.
Onward. There were of course plenty of stone-cold cynics in the audience thanks
to the night's headliner, FUCKED UP. When Wavves wrapped their set, the
throng of pogoing adolescents disbanded from the space they had
occupied for the opening set, and they were replaced by a more burly
audience who had been looming toward the back bars. They played the same
venue only three months ago and our dearly departed music intern
covered it then. My sentiments on Friday's Fucked Up show mirror his from June exactly. Not going to copy and paste his writing here though cause that would be dickish.
more aside, as a chance to clear the air: If you were there and saw someone in the pit
during Fucked Up not wearing a shirt, that was me. I'm not proud of
this. But not even 10-minutes into their set, while I was posted up
somewhere near the madness at the front of the stage, someone stuck
their finger into a hole into the back of my well-worn t-shirt and
ripped it right from my back, in a reverse Hulk Hogan manner. I'm generally
self-conscious about my body and wouldn't condone shirtlessness in a club setting under any circumstance. But what the fuck was I supposed to do? Leave? That shit
was too awesome.