by Blake Hammond
Posted In: Live Music
at 12:32 PM | Permalink
While waiting in line for 45 minutes for the sold-out
Wavves show at The Basement in Columbus, Ohio, I begin to notice a much
longer line accumulating outside the substantially bigger and more
extravagant venue directly across from me, The LC Pavilion.
Then, just as I’m about to ask the stoned kid next to me
who is playing at The LC tonight, an older couple with leather jackets –
the woman with pink highlights in her beach blonde hair – grabs my
“Excuse me, sir. Is this the line for Garbage?” she asks.
“Well, that depends on your definition of Garbage, ma'am.” I reply.
After this smartass comment, I quickly apologize and
assure them that this is the line for the Wavves show and that ’90s
Alt-rockers, Garbage, are playing next door. During this short
conversation, I realize something.
There are only two basic differences between those fans
going to see Garbage at The LC and the fans going to see Wavves at The
Basement — the generational gap and the smells permeating from the
separate lines (their line smelled of liquor, while most on our side reeked of weed and unwashed clothes).
It was as if the people in the Wavves line were getting a
glimpse into the future (mirror, mirror, on the wall, is THAT what I’m
going to look like in 2033?) while the Garbage fans were getting a taste
of their younger years (mirror, mirror, on the wall, did I look THAT
bad in 1993?)
After the wait, the doors finally open and as I walk
inside The Basement, I notice immediately that it lives up to its name. It is dark, cold, and
even has that musty smell that basements do. It was like going into my
Grandma’s basement as a kid, except this one had a fully stocked bar, a
small stage, and a 20-by-20 pit that was filled as soon as the doors
opened. (Step up your game, Grandma!)
The show finally kicks off around 8 p.m. as the group Cheatahs takes the stage. Although they have a decent 30-minute set,
their slower, Pop-infused Grunge style seems ill-fitting for both
the ambiance of the venue but also the acts that follow them. During
their last song, I wonder if perhaps Cheatahs would have been better
received as an opener for Garbage across the corridor rather than
opening for the Punk/Surf rockers Wavves.
After Cheatahs finish, the second act, FIDLAR (an
acronym for “Fuck it, dawg, life’s a risk”), comes on and the intensity
of the show is taken to a whole new level. Although some critics have
called this band Skate Punk, for me, that term seems to coincide with
terrible Pop Punk and Tony Hawk Pro Skater games (which were amazing),
so I’d like to deem them “Party Punk” for the sheer fact that most their
lyrics deal with the fact that they like to get high and drunk off of
shitty weed, cocaine and alcohol.
Their blistering opener, “Cheap Beer”, starts the set
with a burst of energy that never falters during the next 40 or so
minutes. By the time they finish, vocalist/guitarist Zac Carper is
crowd surfing and ending their final song dangling from the sprinkler
system that hangs above the pit full of exhausted but excited fans.
As FIDLAR exited and Wavves starts setting up, most of
the patrons come out of the pit looking so tired it didn’t seem like
they were going to make it through to the headlining act. Some of the
concertgoers leave after FIDLAR’s explosive and energetic set, partially
because, as I said before, they were too debilitated to go on.
I personally believe, though, that some left because The
Basement has acquired the stench of a 16-year-old boy’s room (for those
of you who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing this distinctive
smell, it’s basically a combination between musk, sweat, weed and
alcohol) from all the jumping, moshing and mashing going on in the
The people that pushed through, however, are treated with
the opportunity to see a very special and intimate Wavves performance.
Nathan Williams opens up the set with the unflinching Surf Rock
anthem “Idiot”, which not only is a fan favorite of the night (along
with “Green Eyes” and “Super Soaker”), but also keeps that intensity set
up by FIDLAR’s performance and takes it higher.
Wavves' set-list isn’t just comprised of songs off
older LPs, as they accomplish a pretty choice mix of the earlier material and new, catchy, sing-a-long tracks like “Demon to Lean On”,
“Sail to the Sun” and “Afraid of Heights,” off their latest album of
the same name.
A pretty flawless musical performance and Williams’ witty, in-between song banter with the crowd (my personal
favorite is when he almost chipped his tooth adjusting the microphone
and said he was going to look like rapper Danny Brown by the end of
the show) coupled with guitarist Stephen Pope’s bedazzled, purple tights
and outlandish behavior give fans more than their money’s
As previously stated, for those fans that stuck around
for Wavves (which was most of the people there), we witnessed a truly
special night. Not because this will be the last opportunity to ever see
this band perform live again, but more because, with Wavves' new album, Afraid of Heights, getting
the accolades it deserves and the band's following growing greater
everyday, we will most likely never see them in this small of a setting
again. In fact, I’d bet good money (if I had any) that the next time
Wavves visits Columbus, they won’t be headlining The Basement but the
venue across corridor, The LC Pavilion — even if Garbage is in town