LIVE Wavves by Billy Bob Koruna


Wavves had a hell of an act to follow during its latest Vancouver appearance. Before the Nathan Williams-led band arrived onstage, the crowd had already been whipped into a frenzy by King Tuff, whose boppy garage pop tunes and noisy fretboard fireworks inspired dancing and crowd surfing from the Friday night revellers. Frontman Kyle Thomas and his two backing players resembled straggly extras from FUBAR; with a pair of Marshall stacks and a homemade psychedelic skull logo serving as their backdrop, it was impossible not to be charmed by their cheekily outdated sense of cool.

It was around midnight when Wavves was introduced by King Tuff bassist Magic Jake, who had stripped down to his skivvies. The set started not with a bang but a whimper, as Williams and his band — bassist Stephen Pope, drummer Brian Hill and guitarist Alex Gates — fiddled around with gear and noodled aimlessly. Luckily, they made up for this by launching into a string of brisk punk scorchers, playing frantic versions of “Post Acid,” “Super Soaker” and “Bug.” The crowd responded by pogo-dancing and moshing, and the energy in the room didn’t wane over the course of the hour-plus set.

The diminutive Williams donned a jauntily perched cap, looking far younger than his 27 years as he shouted, sneered and took frequent alcohol breaks — at one point confessing that he was “so drunk.” As he consumed more, the set grew increasingly chaotic and the party had turned to a full-on rager by the time the members of King Tuff emerged to mill around the side of the stage and share a joint with Wavves. When introducing “Sail to the Sun” from the new album Afraid of Heights, Williams said, “This one is dedicated to Stephen sucking my dick.”

The show eventually ended without an encore and those who stuck around to chant for an encore didn’t get their wish. This wasn’t too much of a problem; after such an awesomely raucous performance, the guys from Wavves had more than earned a chance to stumble back to the bus and sleep it off.

By Alex Hudson
Photo by Billy Bob Koruna

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