The line was long and the majority of the crowd was…short. As we walked up to the Black Cat last Saturday to see Jacuzzi Boys, King Tuff, and Wavves, we were met with a wide-ranging crowd in terms of age. There were old D.C. punks who clearly had been frequenting the pit since Fugazi, masses of preteens who were enjoying their first outings of parental freedom, and then the occasional laid back older teenager—of which a strange majority were wearing Hawaiian printed shirts. In lions riding pineapples they trust! [No, really, there was a kid who had that shirt. And it was all right.]
Upon finally making it in after dealing with the disgruntled gatekeeper of the Black Cat, guest list confusion, denial of admittance, more confusion, calls to managers, and the final admittance, Max Blackman [Shoutouts to The Schoolyard, tune into that!] and I made our way to the front. We easily slithered up the side and onto the edge of the pit. I’m not one for mosh pits—I can’t say I enjoy getting man handled and punched by other sweaty individuals. But, I enjoyed watching it. There were some goofy kids hopping and jumping and singing their hearts out while elbowing other kids in the face—and something about it was strikingly heart-warming.
Unfortunately, we missed Jacuzzi Boys because of the line and lots of confusion about the guest list—and we were extremely bummed. But we walked in to find them sitting at their merch table and I got to say what’s up before heading to the front.
King Tuff was inexplicably good. Kyle Thomas’ voice was even better when the garage sound was taken out of it—they sounded more rock ‘n roll. They were also dressed to kill. Wrapped in a strange combination of leather, denim, and bandanas and swatched with stickers, chains, and embroidery, they played a set full of clean guitar and incredible energy.
A beautiful portrait of Max Blackman, Sun Medallion King Kyle Thomas [of King Tuff], and me. Blackman missed the memo.
Then, Wavves came on. I will admit, I am not the biggest Wavves fan—but I was curious to see them live. Nathan Williams came out wearing a snapback that said “Los-Santos” [in honor of the recent Grand Theft Auto release, to which he also wrote and dedicated a song to] and Stephen Pope came out…looking like a yeti punk of majestic proportions. Really though, Stephen Pope’s hair is something of miracles—curly, puffy, and falling like a crazy halo all around his eyes. They played a long set that was full of loud audience sing-alongs, the quickening and slacking of the pit, and hilarious lyrics. My favorite was, “I’m thirsty. I think I’m dead. No I’m just drunk.” Their great blending of punk, pop, and surf-rock was quite refreshing—and so was the enthusiasm from everybody in the venue. Wavves has a cult-like following for a reason—I get it now.
What I liked about this show was that everybody was thrilled to be there. The music wasn’t oppressive [although there were some bleeding guitar frequencies between Wavves’ songs that sounded like dying cats, but that’s just how surf-punk works] and everybody wanted to dance. It was a sold out show but the crowd didn’t seem too large. All the bands played well and their sound meshed together in a brilliant way. This tour is one you shouldn’t miss if you get a change to see them in another location. Long live the pit.
Review by Hannah Spector of Various Materials.