Mandy’s Performance Quality Scale- C+
I have seen many shows during my two years at the Claremont Colleges. There have been highs and lows in terms of performance and band personality, and after many months I have created a Performance Quality Scale in my mind. Ponytail at The Smell on 10/10/08 being at the high end of the scale and Band That Shall Remain Unnamed on 11/22/08 in Dom’s Lounge, Pomona College at the other end of the scale. On this scale, Nathan “Wavves” Williams lands somewhere in the middle.
For having only been performing for approximately four days, (a year and a half) he did a good job. He started his set off rocking. Williams live set is different from his recorded material. All of the fuzz that makes Wavvves so darn cozy is left out; instead the audience gets to actually hear Williams’ voice, which is surprisingly good. He sustained strong vocals throughout his set and played his guitar well enough. His drummer did alright too when his instrument was not falling apart.
Now here is the bad part.
Williams has zero stage presence. In fact, he may have negative stage presence. Before and after the show he mentioned being exhausted after a 77 day tour (which not only covered the entire United States but also trekked through Europe) so it is very possible that he was too tired for enthusiasm. After four songs, Williams announced that he would play two more, at which point the audience became justifiably aggressive and yelled for more. Somehow, we accosted five more songs out of him, but not without the back and forth, “no seriously this is my last one geez,” from Williams who immediately began to behave like an irritated child when the yelling started. Weirdly enough, after the show he was extremely friendly, if a little sleepy and shy. It was as if he saved up his terrible mood just for his performance.
In the end Vampire Hands and Now in Technicolor, the opening bands of the night, were the ones to make the show worthwhile. Both bands were energetic, enthusiastic and played longer sets than our highly-bloggable headliner. Williams could have learned a lot from those he shared the bill with, unfortunately he was far too busy playing videogames in the Student Center to catch their performances.
I have to admit, my expectations for Wavves’ performance were depressingly low, so I was ultimately satisfied with his set. I had fun, and I love his music enough that I could bring my own party to the show, I didn’t need him to bring it. Clearly, everyone else in the audience felt the same way because we had a rockin’ time. Plus, Nathan Williams is so gosh-darn cute it is nearly impossible to be too hard on him. I don’t think anyone could hate a face like that. He’ll be a heartbreaker when he grows up.
-DJ Mandy Manray
photo credit: Rachel Smith