Southern California rockers released “Hideaway” in Summer 2021, after their 10 year anniversary tour celebrating their breakout record “King of the Beach” was cancelled due to COVID. With their last show being a run of smaller clubs like Baby’s All Right in 2019, their 2021 Fall Tour is their first proper run of shows in a hot minute. The band’s last visit to South Florida saw them hit much bigger spaces opening for pop-punk luminaries Blink 182. With a far more massive stretch of shows, the band came down to Miami’s The Ground, the venue upstairs from Club Space.
Resident DJ Jonny From Space held down the 1s and 2s, helping keep the punk vibes in the room flowing, with a set of tracks from Japanese Breakfast, Slowdive, and even South Florida locals Surfer Blood.
Kicking off the live show was Tampa locals “Glove” with post-rock energy reminiscent of Joy Division and even the lo-fi sensibilities of acts like Molchat Doma. With driving bass, 8 bit drum patches, and glimmering synths, the group still brought a punk energy with shredding, noisy guitars and a cold, aggressive stage presence.
Walking onto the stage with the house music playing “Tequila” by The Champs as singer Nathan Williams passed around a bottle to his fellow bandmates, before launching into the raucous track “Way Too Much” off the album “V,” their last released on Warner Bros Records. The evening’s setlist was evenly divided, mostly “King of the Beach” tracks with a mix of their previous official releases from “Afraid of Heights” to their last album “You’re Welcome.” With over a decade of Wavves as a band, the audience yelled along with Williams and co. even some new songs from “Hideaway” proving to be crowd pleasers. The only true downtempo moment being the track “Sinking Feeling” which allowed a brief moment to have the crowd subside.
The energy in the room was absolutely chaotic as soon as the band ripped into the tracks, the crowd surging and thrashing into the barricade. The lack of literally anything holding down the barricade became apparent as the crowd pushing forward also thrust the metal barricade past the photographer pit and into the stage, with the only line of defense for the photographers being house staff/security pushing back onto the metal bars. There were some brief moments away from the manic energy, as the band took a few “Tequila” breaks on stage, which yes, means The Champs song was played at least three more times on the overhead.
As a frontman, Williams commands the stage with a slacker rock swagger, going from singing and strumming out chords to literally checking the Dodgers game on his phone. At first, the crowd entirely drowned out his vocals due to a lack of a proper soundcheck, however on the fly adjustments were made and Williams’ voice cut through the sing-alongs on “Demon to Lean On” and the GTA V favorite “Nine is God.” The set ended with the “King of the Beach” favorite “Green Eyes,” a stoner punk favorite that holds some teenage nostalgia for my more sobered self.
Way Too Much
My Head Hurts
Afraid of Heights
King of the Beach
Demon to Lean On
Heavy Metal Detox
Sail to the Sun
Nine Is God