Editor’s Note: There are three clips from the concert at the bottom of the page.
8-2-2010, NYC – A skinny young man swished his hair out of his face several times last Monday night, his name is Nathan Williams and goes by the musical pseudonym known as Wavves.
Two days prior I had attended a free Sonic Youth concert in Prospect Park. While I am and continue to be a Sonic Youth fan, the concert experience was no more than shrug worthy. Of course, Sonic Youth performed well and Kim Gordon wore something shiny; but the most titillating moment proved to be when a sweaty bald man named “Burt” emptied his beer on my calf. When I confronted him, he more slurred than explained to me that I had been, “blocking his view of the stage.” I told him he was a fucking douche and walked away.
That following Monday, I waited alongside my t-shirt clad peers for half an hour for Wavves to enter the stage. Girls needled their way through the crowd miming insincere apologies. Boyfriends carried cups of frothy beer. The oh, so familiar, “my concert, my way” attitude began to surface. People became attached to the places they had been holding all night long. As newcomers sifted through the crowd, irritated glares penetrated veils of bangs and unkempt hair.
The moment Wavves entered the stage at The Bowery Ballroom, the entire crowd infrastructure collapsed at the sound of a power chord. Males with ratty, asymmetrical haircuts rushed the front, sandal-wearing folks cleared the way, potheads bit their joints, and I stood among the chaotic shift laughing aloud. I exchanged glances with a twenty-something Japanese man wearing a Black Sabbath mid-drift. He smiled back and pushed me in the mosh pit.
In between songs, Nathan and his band mates exchanged goofy banter. Whether audience members were dancing, hopping, moshing or standing there was one connective gesture linking everyone: the smile. I realized I was having fun, and those around me were having fun—the kind of fun that is marked by naïve abandon of the “cool”.
But who cares about cool when you’re standing on a stage looking over a crowd of beaming smiles and quirky dancers about to crowd surf?! I dove into the crowd and was suspended like cotton pancake from one end of the venue to the other.
Wavves’ lo-fi ditties fueled an authentic energy; an energy so playful, so irreverent that no human body could resist being its host. Like a spaz attack, like childish nonsense, like realizing that relationships don’t always have to be difficult, or that ice cream really is great with rainbow sprinkles; the Wavves concert was a cheeky hiatus from a sometimes too serious music scene.
Wavves perform @ The Bowery Ballroom on 8-2-2010
Wavves perform “So Bored” @ The Bowery Ballroom on 8-2-2010
Wavves perform “Nervous Breakdown” by Black Flag @ The Bowery Ballroom on 8-2-2010