Wavves brings amplified energy and classic rock passion to August Hall

The music of rock band Wavves has incredible endurance, both due to the band’s rock and roll classics and new indie-rock surfing. With more than a decade of jaw-dropping guitar solos, raucous howls of lyrics, and nationwide touring experience, Wavves brought amps and energy on November 11 to August Hall in San Francisco for their tour of the United States in the fall of 2021.

In support of their new album Refuge, singer Nathan Williams, guitarist Alex Gates, bassist Stephen Pope and drummer Ross Traver warmed up August Hall with not one, but two openers with drastically different sounds.

Cheerful and noticeably lively from the start, rock band Cuffed Up started the evening as a surprise addition to a set. The second opener, Harmless, sweetened the room with hopeful, loving, and mind-boggling indie-pop tracks – complemented by singer Nacho Cano’s light but moving voice – setting the room up for Wavves to take the stage with a bang.

The group entered without announcement and began to walk away. With the nonchalance of seasoned performers, the band were stoic on stage, comfortably shaking their long, classic rocker locks to their opening song, “Way Too Much”.

Working casually sweaty, Williams and Pope were most moved when they rocked their guitars and jumped alongside the crowd. “Linus Spacehead” evoked screeches and screeches as Williams’ focused and constant “ooh” echoed through the room.

The bond between artists and their fans was electric and contagious; Williams, Gates and Pope’s lively and blatant attachment to their own music was transferred to the crowd, whose cheers and activity in the mosh pit soared with each track at a rapid pace.

Still, after several rhythmic songs from the band’s four albums, the whole thing felt a bit on one note – even if that note was incredibly hyped. Additionally, the group sometimes felt dependent on August Hall’s impressive set-up and lighting techniques. Powerful strobe beams during solo guitar ballads; the changes in the color of the light were the main catalyst for the changes in rhythm of the ensemble.

Fortunately, a slower, languid “caviar” came as a palate cleanser. Changing the mood for the ensemble, the romantic song drew conscientious attention to Williams’ chic and gritty tone. The lights sweeping across the room perfectly complemented the band’s musicality during “Sinking Feeling”.

Pope rocked at his own pace the entire set, throwing his head and body into his instrument and his voice as he fell into a rabbit hole of his own playing. Drummer Traver also brought an ever-impressive intensity to each piece. , whatever the tempo. As the green and blue lights turned, Traver’s possession with his rhythm was in the foreground during “Marine Life.”

After stopping to hydrate, Williams and Pope chatted with the public, stressing how “very good it was to be back” following relaxed pandemic protocols. The crowd agreed, sending several sets of shots on stage in the middle of the performance before the band returned to the music with “Heavy Metal Detox”, a track Williams dedicated “for all of you.”

The rest of the ensemble paraded, with superb Scott Pilgrim-style guitar solos from Gates and Williams. A final change of tempo came with fan favorite ‘Nine Is God’, a triumphant and nostalgic level of instrumentalism worthy of a reel. “Post Acid” unified and mystified everyone in the room, with Williams’ deep note-holding accompanied by delighted flashes of lights and moshing.

Vibrant bass riffs in “Green Eyes” closed Wavves’ performance. The song went on for centuries, eventually evolving with jerky jumps, peaks, slowdowns, and a final ramp up showing the band’s range from sweet and melancholy to a hard, endless, endless rock ballad running through the audience.

The three-hour performance ended simply, with exhausted and shaken bandmates dropping their gear, knocking over the stands and sound interference from the mountain of speakers on stage. The skill and bond of the whole band was evident throughout the set, showing the lasting impacts that seasoned performers can have on an audience when they know and love and still find raw passion in their repertoire.

Contact Katherine Shok at [email protected].

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