Monday, 22 April 2013

Wavves at la sala rossa

Wavves + Fidlar + Cheatahs  |  La Sala Rossa

                      PHOTOS  |  VALERIA VEGA

I went to La Sala Rossa on April 6th to go see Wavves perform. It was my first visit to this particular venue, and so I will continue in my proud tradition of describing the venue in extreme anal retentive detail. La Sala Rossa is one hell of a venue. It’s on the second floor of a building, and the space occupying the first floor is a restaurant. The floor with the venue proper has a bar with excellent brews on tap, and ample space for a crowd. The main thing that struck me about La Sala Rossa is the high quality of live sound; it was quite apparent from listening to it over the course of the evening that they really did invest a great deal of money and care into their PA and microphones. This place had the best sounding drums out of anywhere I’ve been in the city, including some of the bigger places. As for the show itself, this was a very high energy rock show complete with a totally kicking rad mosh pit, crowd surfing, and stage diving. This crowd got really into the music and moshed as hard as any metal crowd (if not harder); to watch these music fiends slam dance was like watching popcorn cook. Enough of that, though, and onto the bands!

Cheatahs are a quartet from London, UK. They have a guitar-driven and shoegazey sound that is highly influenced of the spaced-out alt-rock legends of yesteryear, and their live performance showed them off as a tight unit. Their guitars had just the right amounts of jangle and crunch, and the rhythm section of bass and drums were focused and present. They did a bang-up job of getting the audience ready for a night of mayhem, and proved themselves to not just be some opening band who’s set one should miss. 

Fidlar is another a quartet but they're from Los Angeles. It was apparent from the chorus line of their opening track which states “I drink cheap beer/so what? Fuck you!”, that these guys were up for a rowdy time, and that message was quite well received by the audience. Almost all of the songs they played were about hard drinking, doing drugs, and generally just being a big party animal. Very rock n‘ roll. As far as the music is concerned, they have a purist take off of early punk rock. Not content to simply be influenced by bands such as The Ramones, they went ahead and adopted the sounds of groups like the Stooges as well as 60s garage rock and surf artists. They employed some really great dirty tones for the guitars and bass with some ancient tube amplifiers, and the vocals were raw and full of gristle. I was impressed by their totally spot-on cover of Suburban Home by the Descendents. These guys definitely converted me to their side with their performance; I am now a fan.

I was fairly surprised by how different Wavves’ live set sounded from their recorded material. Their albums make them sound like some poppy 60s garage surf throwback, but in the live setting they sound like a modern punk outfit. I would suppose that the of epic amounts of distorted reverb and trebly guitars on their studio output is the main culprit, while in person there‘s ample bass and a much drier microphone sound. I’m not complaining about the differences, however; I think it was a good decision to have a unique recorded sound in that regard as there are way too many bands out there that get that really cheesy modern high-gain amplifier guitar tone on their albums. Wavves were an interesting band to look at, from the longhaired surfer-dude bassist to the more buttoned-down second guitarist sporting a black eye that was never explained. They played all of the hits from 2010’s  King of the Beach such as Idiot and Green Eyes as well as cuts from their new album. I was stoked to hear all of these songs in the flesh at last. They breathed a life into them that did not exist on the album. Throughout their set, the opening riff of Blind off Korn’s debut album kept appearing: one of the guitarists played it with the drummer when the band was experiencing technical difficulties in the middle of the set, and then again during the set’s close. All of the members switched instruments and made a raucous noise, until the drummer was left alone onstage playing that riff again. Korn was a band that I ended up outgrowing over the course of my adolescence, but I still like listening to their first two albums from time to time. As such, I appreciated Wavves’ appreciation for Korn’s self-titled debut. All in all it was a spectacular set that furthered my appreciation for Wavves’ music, and I now listen to the music of theirs that I have on my iPod with a vigour that was previously unseen.

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