As the crowd packed into Max Watts on Sunday night, it definitely felt like a throwback to a gig I would of went to when I was 15 or 16 – and that’s definitely the time period Wavves takes me back to. Comically coming out to ‘Gday Gday’ by Slim Dusty, frontman Nathan Williams said a quick hello and launched into ‘Sail to the Sun’ from 2013’s Afraid of Heights. Almost immediately the mosh pit started to go hard. It’s a good tune to start off for the band, really showcasing the vocal harmonies that tend to distance Wavves from the generic Californian punk-rock band.
Wavves continue to fire off short and furious tracks with almost no break in between. Not having been to see the guys out of San Diego before, this was quite jarring as I barely had a chance to catch a breath. Still, I was happy to hear older tracks like ‘Beat Me Up’, ‘Linus Spacehead’, being thrown in with newer songs off V which released back in October of 2015. One of these, ‘My Head Hurts’ contained some epic drum fills from Brian Hill which were a set highlight, considering the consistency of rhythm throughout.
Now while these songs were sharp examples of Wavves’ appealing style, before I knew it, in half an hour they had played what seemed like 15 songs, that quickly ran into each other and failed to differentiate from each other. So while this was a fun and action packed start to a set, it was hard to remember all the songs played through the night. Still, crowd surfers and red cups flying around obviously highlighted the sheer fun that punters were having, so I definitely couldn’t knock the atmosphere that Wavves were creating.
‘Afraid of Heights’ was a nice change up and signified the mature development of the group’s development back in 2013, but as they went back into newer tracks from V, it did seem like a step-back. Fun yes, but almost eradicating the work the band has done in making their sound unique prior to the album. The set was over before it begun and it was a noticeable feeling amongst the crowd. This was no doubt a fun gig to go to, but I’m more keen to see where Wavves go from here, if Williams and co can develop their sound further to be more than just your stereotypical L.A. punk band. Billy Joe Armstrong and Tom DeLonge are obvious influences on Williams and his crew – and it’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong, they just need to continue to build on what they were doing before V, and the show would be one to remember.