Gig Preview: Wavves @ Arches

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Chris Lavery looks ahead to Wavves + Otherpeople + PAWS on 8/11/10 @ The Arches

Nathan Williams of Wavves

The last time Wavves played in Glasgow was in March 2009, at Sleazy’s, a smaller venue and perhaps more suited to their insular, fuzzy sound than the vast, chamber-like Arches. Nevertheless, their Monday night slot at this trendy location is bound to be an exhilarating show. Nathan Williams is the man behind this critically acclaimed Californian project, renowned for his emotionally-charged outbursts of adolescent loneliness and blunt depictions of teenage drug use.

The confusingly-named Wavvves, (note the third ‘v’) is widely accepted as his debut album, his first LP being largely overlooked by critics. It received largely favourable reviews, praised for the ‘DIY’, lo-fi quality which is all too often a band’s critical suicide. Muscular drum beats have been layered with guitar riffs and lots of feedback, creating a fantastic, trippy quality to the music, made only more potent with Williams’ woozy, downbeat drawl. He is hopelessly pessimistic, questioning the very pointlessness of his existence, yet masking this superbly with a hurricane of distorted, sugar-glazed feedback.

The bulk of the performance is likely to be taken from King of the Beach, released earlier this year. It builds on their established fuzzy noise-pop sound but is noticeably more polished and accessible than before. ‘Post Acid’ is probably Wavves’ most mainstream-orientated track to date and it may be an ode to a bad trip, but it is also a lyrically and melodically upbeat song: “Would you understand? That I’m just having fun With you…”. KotB by no means departs from the sad summer themes of Wavvves.

Despite the relative success of his music, Williams himself has not had a positive portrayal in the media, becoming something of a byword for controversy. His onstage drug-fuelled meltdown at the Primavera Sound Festival caused a stir, earning him an unpopular image amongst fellow indie musicians. It is perhaps for this reason that he has admitted to being more at home in the recording studio than at live gigs. That said, Wavves’ previous performances (Primavera notwithstanding) have generally received positive reactions, and I’m sure that the Arches gig will not disappoint. Prepare for an extremely noisy concoction of big guitar riffs, buzzing synths, pounding drums and massive vocal hooks.


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