all words: Shona Fenner
all photos: Sally Simms
I feel like I taught a self-defense class at the Wavves show Monday night. That or I was the unnamed attacker that everyone practiced pulverizing. I had the beautiful opportunity to educate some girls how to “throw‘bos” and teach the rowdy guys behind them a lesson with well-places elbow jabs. Also, yours truly was reminded that DC never knows how to have a pit that is well intentioned. So basically it was a night of surprisingly good music and new bruises.
The opener was a local trio of hunks called Laughing Man. These boys are so polite, saying thank you after every song. Plus, they are definitely talented and definitely worth checking out if you have never seen them before. It is always a beautiful show when you see a local band play, and it is obvious they have a significant number of friends in the audience. It isn’t every day that you hear catcalls come from a place of friendship and love. Laughing Man even teased the crowd of indie kids with the comment, “Here is a song that I am sure NONE of you have heard before.” Oh my… beyond underground. However, I hesitate to try to label their sound. But they have relatable lyrics, an easy beat, and a solid bass line. Whatever subgenre of music this was I hear their debut album is coming out very soon, so you can decide for yourself.
The Rock and Roll Hotel was surprisingly crowded for a Monday night by the time the California lo-fi band Christmas Island came to the stage. This band is totally west coast; everything from their look to their sound is just groovy old sun drenched Cali, with a certain edge. I am not a sentimentalist, so bands that include a couple typically make me groan–but not these guys. Christmas Island was new to me but they only had to play one song to convert me into a fan. Listen to their song “Dinosaurs”, and I promise you will feel like a little kid and drunk at the same time… does that sound good to you?
I wish I had known of them much earlier because they have perfect summer jams that feel poppy and sweet and can turn on you at any second. The best example of this is their ability to lyrically mention the something innocent like sunshine and then “puking in the deep end”. Heck they are so summer that their album is even titled, “Blackout Summer”. This too cool band’s logo is shown on the cover as a stick and poke ankle tattoo of a candy cane crossed with a bong. Is it not yet obvious why I want to be friends with Christmas Island?
The California vibe continued for our slacker headliner from San Diego, Wavves. The boys in the band were sporting some thrift store gems and won my heart by drinking heavily on stage. Here is another band that I cannot stop saying good things about. Taking a liking to them is easy because they are definitely conversationalists. Wavves kept up a steady banter between each song with each other and with the audience. Evidently we all wanted to chat, and this band is so easy-going that they will quip back and forth just as if we were all chillin’ at the skate park together.
In case you have been under a rock from the indie scene Wavves lo-fi sound is sort of fuzzy, poppy, distorted, repetitious, and self-destructive. Could I be less clear? Well, Wavves is simply “just having fun”, and so are all their fans. Unfortunately, absent from the merch table were the Wavves grinders that prove these guys are down to hangout and completely willing to cater to their audience who likely can all closely identify with the movie “Dazed and Confused”.
During their set I ignorantly got in the pit only to find myself shoved and then my legs knocked out from under me. So here is my public service announcement to please stop targeting girls you might find in the pit. We just want to spin around with everyone else. I thought we were all friends here, right? But that experience aside the show was stellar. I think the whole show can be summarized with the Wavves song “I’m So Bored” because it was anything but boring and besides… that’s my favorite.