A Wednesday night doesn’t have a big expectation to live up to; it’s just another bland workday before the freedom of the weekend bestows itself upon everyone. However, last night’s sold-out Wavves show at the Grog Shop was a surprising experience of a night for everyone. Though Coventry has tried its best to reduce the amount of minors roaming the infamous street at night, a substantial part of the crowd was made up of high-schoolers that were washing off the sharpie-marks from their hands to see if the bar would serve them. And though one would expect the vast majority of the crowd at a Wavves show to be high and mellow, they had an unprecedented amount of energy that blew away both the bands performing and the security trying to keep them in check.
Opening for the night were the Cheatahs, an indie band from London, England that fit the bill well in terms of music style. Performing with efficiency and very little faffing around, they played a set worthy of being the opener: not too energetic, not too docile, and unfortunately, not too memorable. Guitar solos weren’t astounding, but the bassist on the other side of the stage had some impressive fills in songs; but with his instrument being mixed the way it was, his playing wasn’t fully appreciated (welcome to the world of a bassist). The band wasn’t very energetic on stage- no head-banging, no jumping, etc. - but the crowd began to get a bit rowdy by the end of their set. Perhaps the most notable part of their set was the end, when they told the crowd that they were looking for a place to crash that night; hopefully they found someone willing to take them in, or at the very least, a furniture store that forgot to lock its door.
Next to take the stage was Fidlar, an indie punk band that got the crowd to start chanting their name while they were setting up their equipment. And although they took an extended amount of time waiting to perform, once they began to play, the energy in the room escalated ten-fold. The crowd proceeded to push and shove themselves towards the stage, and girls in the front row were climbing up on stage to dance alongside the band. For the security guards, this was akin to a three-alarm fire alert- they even had to get bouncers from B-Side and the band’s tour manager to help contain the crowd. By the second song, so many people were jumping in unison that you could feel the floor shaking. The band was reveling in the energy all around them, never really slowing down with their set full of fast and furious punk chords and drumlines; the frontman even stated that this was “way more fun than the last time they played Cleveland.” While the whole band overall had a more active stage-presence than the previous band, the frontman was especially energetic, and during the final song, he jumped into the crowd with the mic still in his hand, and hung upside down from the ceiling while he sang.
With Fidlar nearly bringing down the house with their set, it nearly felt like it would be problematic for Wavves. Would Wavves be able to carry the energy in the room that Fidlar created? Or what if Fidlar ended up exhausting all the energy the crowd had to give? When Wavves opened up with “Idiot,” those questions were answered: yes, they could carry the energy and keep the fire burning strong; and no, the crowd had plenty more energy to spend during their performance. Continuing with “Bug,” crowd surfers were abundant and there were only a couple corners in the venue that were safe from the massive mosh-pit. After the first three songs, they decided to shift down a gear with their new single, “Demon to Lean On,” where the crowd took a tiny break from body-checking each other and proceeded to belt out the lyrics in their entirety; the same deal went for “Green Eyes” later on in the set. While the crowd was still as wild as could be, it got well past the point of inconsiderate; with water bottles being thrown towards the stage (not to mention that those water bottles were given to the crowd by the band), and a couple stage-climbers accidentally stepping on the band’s equipment. But frontman Nathan Williams didn’t mind it when someone would climb on stage and sing into the mic with him, but that may have been because he was drunk, which he admitted- then denied- then admitted- then said “maybe” as his final answer. And by their last song song, their old classic “No Hope Kids,” the mayhem reached its peak when everyone decided to rush the stage, but Wavves kept playing even when the crowd was proverbially swallowing them into their mass. At that point, the security couldn’t contain them, and the only way they could break it all up was by shutting off the amps; a fitting end for a show that will definitely be remembered by everyone who was there.
Here’s their whole setlist, for those that would like to imagine how they were live sans the sweaty conglomerate of people:
Demon to Lean On
Beat Me Up
Afraid of Heights
King of the Beach
Sail to the Sun
Friends Were Gone
100% (Sonic Youth Cover)
No Hope Kids