When I mentioned I was going to Market Hotel to see Wavves, my co-worker told me, and I quote, “that place is a death trap.” Well, she’s completely correct, but it was a very fitting venue in which to experience Wavves. I hate to say anything bad about the place, mostly because Todd P, indie promoter extraordinaire, got on the mic asking people not to smoke in the room where the bands played because “people will go home and write about it on the internet.” Which is exactly what I’m doing. But the out-of-the-way, possibly life-threatening Market Hotel is packed full of charm and has the most exciting vibe of any makeshift DIY venue I’ve been to yet. It’s so cool and DIY that it almost renders itself obsolete.
Which is the same exact problem I had with Wavves live. I love the new album. I think it’s very good. But the fuzzy distortion of the record is gone from the live performance. He doesn’t even run his fender through any pedals. It’s just straight-up guitar and drums with some distortion thrown on his mic for good measure. As the surprisingly diminutive rocker casually took the stage, he sat down and smiled to himself before he began to play, as if the crowd of ready-to-go fans buzzing with excitement were some sort of amusing inside joke. Someone in the front row lit up a joint, passed it up to him, and then the rocking began.
For an artist who started out being whispered about on blogs a few months ago, there were an awful lot of very excited teenagers from New Jersey there (I feel that I can make that judgement because I was once one of them). The Wavves aesthetic worked at Market Hotel. Short songs, full of “I don’t give a fuck” personality, and just enough detached rocking to give the kiddies something to mosh about. But much like the state of Market Hotel, if you pack any more bridge-and-tunnelers into a Wavves show, it’s going to have to be at Bowery Ballroom or Music Hall of Williamsburg. And it’s not going to work there. So much of Wavves was built up around him being an underground buzz act, and once that’s no longer the case, I don’t know what he’s going to do to sustain himself. The live songs are good, but not good enough for that next step yet. I’m excited to see how this kid handles all of this newfound attention.
These Are Powers, by the way, completely rocked the house. Their thick layering of beats and spastic/beautiful lead singer are absolute winners. Another band to definitely keep a close eye on. And as far as Vampire Hands goes, I could really take them or leave them.
These Are Powers: