Photographs by Victoria Smith
Written by Erik Thybony
Wavves and Best Coast are headlining Noise Pop 2011, and the show is sold out. This is bad news for me because it means I have to show up on time to get in. And by on time, I mean inappropriately early. Believe me, 7:45 is far too early to be stuffing a flask down the front of your pants.
I make it past security and through check-in and realize I still have an hour to kill. I’m wearing my press laminate and I consider using it as a conversation starter: “Hey. How ya doing. I’m with the press.” Even the thought fills me with a deep sense of shame and self-loathing. I rip off the laminate and stuff it into my pocket like a Victorian family stuffing a deformed stepsister into the attic. Nobody likes the press. Nobody. And here’s why:
There were two opening bands I won’t mention by name because I don’t want to humiliate them any further. Suffice to say, if I had a handful of dollar bills, I would have thrown them on stage like Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack: “Take some more lessons!” With that caliber of opening act, I’m not expecting much from Wavves. But holy shit, Wavves fucking brings it. I’m shocked. I’ve heard their album, and I think it sounds like a cassette recorder demo. But live, they kill it. Everything is loud and tight and raw. It’s punk rock. It’s like D.I. or The Adolescents, but slower and more drugged out. Just as I’m thinking this, they launch “Nervous Breakdown” by Black Flag. Perfect. But seriously, when the hell did this happen? Is punk rock making a come back? If this is the next thing is music—and I hope it is—I’m stoked. I fully support Wavves and their quest to bring perma-baked beach punk to the masses. Go see them. Do it now! Go!
Best Coast, on the other hand, does not impress me. Actually, scratch that. They make a huge impression on me: they suck. Pro tip: getting too stoned to play and then announcing to the crowd like it’s some sort of badge of honor is not cool, nor is it cute. You’re not in high school, and this is not your mom’s basement. We’re in San Francisco. This is the old Avalon Ballroom. Grace Slick and Janis Joplin played here. There is a tradition of high-level drug abuse around this place that needs to be upheld! I mean shit, guys, show some professionalism. If you can’t play your own songs because you smoked too much weed, learn how to smoke weed. Your own stage banner has a picture of blunt-smoking alien on it, for fuck’s sake. Carry the torch with pride!