by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
In the battle last Saturday night between Wavves and Best Coast at a sold-out (and packed) Waiting Room, it was Wavves that walked away the victor (at least in my humble opinion).
Both bands are sharing headlining chores over the course of their tour, and both bands are smoking hot right now, though I have to admit having heard little of either of their music before this show (I did hear snippets of Best Coast on NPR).
Wavves rolled out of the gate sounding like a morph of modern post-punk, low-fi, garage and So. Cal surf music. I was reminded of The Pixies, The Ramones, Descendants, Nirvana, Buzzcocks and Jay Reatard. One guy mentioned Dead Milkmen, another mentioned British ’80s punk. The trio blazed through its set with frontman Nathan Williams burning like a San Diego skate-punk. While there was an obvious similitude to their short, sharp, shock numbers, there also was an undeniable knack for melody that kept the set from becoming ho-hum. Certainly the throngs of Omaha youth were enthralled as they leaned against the stage while all the older folks (and there was a surprisingly large contingent of them) watched from the back of the room. Loud, fast, fun.
Best Coast had better songs, but were a downshift energy-wise. Cutie-pie frontwoman Bethany Cosentino’s sweet girlie voice rang out like Belinda Carlisle meets Liz Phair, backed by another guitarist and a drummer (and no bass). While the music was forcibly low-fi with tinges of surf and garage, there was more depth below the surface melody-wise, but not so lyrically, as the songs leaned toward banal Go Go’s rather than confessional Phair. Cosentino made a point of saying she had roots in Omaha, even calling out her family who were standing somewhere in the mob off stage left, presumably near Congressman Lee Terry who I’m told was in the house.
The fact that the kids (a lot of the staged-pressed crowd looked under 21) are getting into faster, funner, punkier music is a sign of hope, especially after the last few years of droning, lifeless schlock like Animal Collective. Too bad they just stood there and stared at the bands like hypnotized cows. I saw only a couple young groovies doing a shag in the back of the room. Nothing wrong with letting loose once awhile, kids…
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Be the first in your neighborhood to own a copy of Bright Eyes’ The People’s Key by attending tonight’s pre-release party down at Slowdown. Copies of the CD will be on sale for $10; vinyl for $18. They’ll be spinning the disc starting at 8 p.m. and giving away pizza.
And then tomorrow, the bomb goes off…
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
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