Best Coast, Wavves, No Joy at 9:30 Club

So the mid-Atlantic region was poised to get hit hard by ice and snow and thundersnow and basically any type of winter weather you could imagine last night, so what did I do? Went and heard some beach jams of course. Best Coast and Wavves continued on their Summer is Forever tour in D.C. last night, stopping along with No Joy. I was a little skeptical of how smoothly the show would run, with Best Coast playing Letterman earlier in the afternoon and then coming to D.C. afterward, but in reality, this was the most smoothly-run concert I’d been to in a long, long time.

No Joy kicked things off at eight with about a 25-minute long set of their female-fronted brand of shoegaze. I expected and wanted them to play for longer, but it wasn’t in the cards. I heard some grumblings about how they sucked and stuff of that sort, but I really dug what I saw. The drumming was tight, the bass was driving and both guitarists could shred.

No Joy had started exactly eight so I was a little surprised when Wavves started just after nine. Was this show, of all shows, actually running on time? It couldn’t be. The band tore through “Idiot” and “Friends Were Gone” to start the set, to a tepid response. Sure, there were the diehards moving back and forth, but it didn’t pick up, predictably, until Nathan Williams, wearing large fake gold chains, played the opening riff to “King of the Beach.” Then it got pretty chaotic.

For some reason, 9:30 Club didn’t have the barricade up and didn’t have bouncers in the crowd to start, so stuff got pretty crazy with crowd surfing and stage diving, which was pretty amusing.

The rest of the night saw Wavves harass his drummer (who was not as good as Billy Hayes), and just put on a quintessential Wavves show. The sound was good, except there was not as much reverb on his vocals as in the past, which didn’t hurt, but didn’t hurt either. He ran had his classics like “No Hope Kids” (a weak version) and “So Bored,” along with new songs like “Linus Spacehead” and “Green Eyes,” for a good balance of new and old. There was some even-newer thrown in as well with “Head In The Sand” and a song that sounded exactly like a Blink-182 song (could it have been Blink-182?) with a repeated chorus of “You’re no fun.” Other than that, it wasn’t really that notable of a set besides a cover of Black Flag’s “Nervous Breakdown” and some banter about people in the crowd being wasted. I went to see Wavves, and Wavves is what I got.

Up next was Best Coast. Drummer Ali appeared on the balcony sometime in the middle of Wavves’ set, so we knew the star of the evening was there. This time Best Coast was there, ready to go, and not on Four Loko. And I have to say, she did a really good job. The set was solid and tight with nothing extraneous going on. The only downside is that there’s not really much else to say. It was good. That’s about it. Bethany writes really, really good beach pop songs, but in the end, they all sound sort of the same. I found myself trying to remember whether or not she had already played a song when each song started, something that I feel is a bit of a negative in her performance. Overall though, it was solid and good. And sober (as far as I could tell).

This sounds a little harsh, but at this point, if you’ve seen Best Coast, you’ve seen Best Coast, and it’s pretty much the same situation as Wavves. I don’t feel the need to see either of them again, unless they release some groundbreaking material in the next year and a half. Other than that, No Joy is the band I want to see again out of everyone that played last night.

Also, check out streams/downloads of both on NPR right here.

–Daniel

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