Wavves // Camden Underworld // 24.6.13
So the weather on the 24th was bordering splendid for England, then again my excitement was most likely making everything seem pretty. With hordes of tie dye, ripped denim, and fluorescent hair already lining up outside the Underworld 30 minutes before the doors opened, the anticipation was thick in Camden.
Strangely enough there was only one support – Baby Strange – so with a long time till the curfew, the support didn’t play till an hour and fifteen after doors opening. Soon enough the minuscule venue had fans hurrying in and Baby Strange were greeted with a roaring welcome. No introduction from the band, just straight into the songs which only really encouraged a weak pit from the crowd. A few bobbing heads, and mere pushes but nothing that would make me want to dive in. After a few songs the frontman complains about no one moving enough and asks politely enough for everyone to dance a bit more, following the introduction of the band itself. Baby Strange’s singer was almost inaudible live, yet they really are ferocious. Things would be a lot different if they were headlining, the crowd would be singing along, going a lot more crazier, but let’s be honest most just wanted to see Nathan Williams. Despite all this, the band’s latest single Pure Evil gets a positive response from the crowd.
And finally after another hour or so of extra waiting, on come Wavves (for some reason the frontman is to the right of the stage, as opposed to centre) and with little to no introduction they blast into Idiot off 2010’s critically acclaimed King of The Beach. Evoking the most profound response from the crown, everyone chants along “I’d say I’m sorry, but it wouldn’t mean shit!” No one has any choice but to move with such intensity to every song because the sold out Underworld is just too small. Wavves being Wavves have plenty of stage gags to display, a small rendition of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Under the Bridge results in the bassist physically eating the mic, and fragments of Weed Demon (from Wavves’ second LP Wavvves) have Nathan desperately telling the audience, “We need weed, now.”
Almost all the songs played from King of The Beach were met with frantic bellows to signal a collective frenzy; even the songs from their latest LP Afraid of Heights force the fans into an absolute mad dance. The fifth song into the set Demon to Lean On is quite possibly Wavves at their finest, both live and in terms of sound. While the bass in solitude at the start builds up the crowd to erupt into chaos, everyone eagerly sings along. Upon climax Nathan even warns security. Afraid of Heights songs were all met with as much enthusiasm as the others. Only one old song was played in full in the set (Friends Were Gone), but of course what has to be mentioned is the roar Wavves got when diving headfirst into Post Acid. Nathan slurs, “uh…we wrote this song like, three years ago, and uh…uh…” followed by bassist Stephen Pope ordering him to: “just shut up and play it.” Post Acid was to put it simply – insane. Proper pits were formed, sweat was sprayed, people were punched, jumped on, crowdsurfing, climbing on others shoulders. Definitely a highlight of the night. An interesting Sonic Youth cover was played (100%), crowd pleaser Green Eyes was played at twice the pace and a long extended version of No Hope Kids was to end (resulting in someone climbing a pillar in the venue and hanging off the rails).
As far as instrumentation goes, Wavves were tight and succinct, but if you ever got the chance to go see this power trio, I doubt it’d make much of a difference anyway. You’d just be sucked into the exuberant crowd.
2. Super Soaker
3. King of The Beach
5. Demon to Lean On
7. Afraid of Heights
8. Post Acid
9. Friends Were Gone
10. Linus Spacehead
11. Beat Me Up
12. Sail to the Sun
13. 100% (Sonic Youth cover)
14. Green Eyes
15. No Hope Kids