Seeing Wavves live is a unique from seeing any other punk or rock band. Some of that uniqueness is thanks to booze, Jameson in this evening’s case but part of their greatness is also because they’re one of the most fun and audience pleasing bands on the scene. It’s like seeing Jackass on stage, the band enjoys fucking with each other, spitting booze on each other, playing covers that you’ll never ever hear but always wanted to, and getting audiences full of brutal metal heads and stoners dancing to pop punk. Without any care for how sloppy they’re playing, I would argue the atmosphere Wavves creates is what rock and roll has always been about. Singer Nathan Williams asked the audience, “Do you see Wavves live to watch us play our instruments well or to go to a freak show?” The answer was of course: Freak show! Freak show!
Opening the night was one of the most hilarious comedy rock acts to come around Los Angeles in a long time. Arriving to the stage with “Mambo #5” playing as they rode on someone’s shoulders wearing trench coats as if they were two very tall men (you know the shtick), from the very beginning, Penelop Gazin and Kate Hollowell of Slut Island did things that no one had ever seen a band do live. With songs like “I’m an Artist”, where the band jokes about how artists die alone or polling the audience for how many people have HPV, this band has impeccable humor, charisma and timing. That wouldn’t mean much if the music wasn’t good but as it so happens, this band genuinely rocks hard as balls.
Levitation Room was next, the psych rock band made up of various players from Los Angeles’ raucous psych scene. The band took a different direction than either Slut Island or Wavves, where Levitation Room isn’t as much about fun as it is about reaching unchained sensory overload until transcendental floating. Solemn at times and wild at others, Levitation Room’s music build and builds until reaching those rich psych rock peaks that Silverlake goes crazy for. These moments of pure release resemble the Doors at their best but nowadays these bands lack the song writing to be as iconic as the Doors, or any of those older psych rock bands. They have the feel, the build and climax but that’s only half the battle.
It was as if Wavves polled the audience and found out exactly what songs they’d ever want to hear at a concert. I heard boozing played a big part in this band’s show but as soon as they demanded a bottle of Jameson, I knew these were my type of guys. Most of their originals had that sloppy surf rock feel, with riffs and hooks that drive boys and girls crazy on dance floors but at the end of their set, the band went into a grip of covers that included everything from GG Allin’s “Don’t Talk to Me” to Blink 182’s “Damnit”. By their raging finale, I had to conclude that this was one of the most fun shows I had ever seen.
Words by: Rob Shepyer
Photos by: Marissa Torres