One day after a snowstorm hit the District, Best Coast and Wavves co-headlined a show at the 9:30 Club as part of their Summer is Forever II tour. The California rockers brought a little surprise with them as well. That present to the fans was Cherry Glazerr, a band that was probably just starting high school for the inaugural Summer is Forever tour in 2011.
Cherry Glazerr stole the night. Frontwoman Clementine Creevy got straight into a hit new single, “Had Ten Dollaz,” with Sean Redman’s bass line starting things off. “I know that you notice my ways. And I feel, I feel your gaze,” she yelled with a raspy tone that added an impeccable demonic touch to catchy drum rhythm played from a zigzag bubblegum drum kit. The awkwardness of the band’s teenage banter faded from memory as Cherry Glazerr rocked out.
Someone in the audience requested “Teenage Girl.” The band went on to play the female-empowering song, filling a certain void in the music industry by creating a space for girls to bring their angst, anger and emotion and rock out to the band’s debut, Haxel Princess.
“This next one’s about being on your period,” Creevy called out through her fairy light-wrapped microphone.
The band played their hearts out, starting the track with a guitar riff and a deliberately cagey keyboard tone from Sasami Ashworth. Soon after, at the bridge of the song “All My Friends,” Ashworth abandoned her keyboard for a guitar and jumped to face Creevy, jamming out. They ended on a killer last bit, getting into a more intense, swing track. Clem plucked her guitar heavily in the style of Black Sabbath while fans illuminated by strobe lighting took note of the talent of the band.
This tour not only brought Cherry Glazerr to new cities to play in like D.C., it gave them the exposure they deserve right before their next LP release. The last track was the crowd favorite “Grilled Cheese,” toning everything down and bringing in nice blend of light punk or ska influence, and youth antics.
“We consider ourselves food rock,” Creevy said.
A huge tarp hung behind the stage with a pro wrestling-inspired painting of Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno with a posh tabby cat on the front on one side and Wavves’ Nathan Williams and Stephen Pope on the other. Under the painting, the words “Wavves Vs. Best Coast” seemed to recognize that this lineup oozed different vibes and strived to see who could rock the loudest. But at the end of the day, the bands had parallels that led fans of each to get into all three sets.
Best Coast started their performance off with frontwoman Cosentino singing “When I’m With You,” alone. The two other guitars, bass and drums jumped in after the first verse. Older tracks continued to come in, pleasing a large portion of the crowd that seemed to be there just for Bruno and Cosentino. With singsong melodic vocals, multilevel harmonies and detailed but heavy guitar solos, Best Coast delivered.
The band seems to have garnered their success in a unique way, mind-blowing instrumentals covered by other buzzing guitar riffs and loud drum bits. As Cosentino started “California Nights,” it seemed obvious that her comforting but serious voice was unique and built more into instrumentation that fit with the synth tracks and rhythm. She dragged the melody in the chorus of the title track in such a dramatic, methodical way that everyone in the crowd was silent.
The newer tracks showed that Best Coast has realized their potential with this LP. There is now a place for clearer vocals, intense emotion show through Cosentino’s classically concrete lyrics and complementary layers of instrumentation like the synth starting out many tracks that night.
The 9:30 Club disco ball came out for “Our Deal,” creating a great mood and atmosphere. Cosentino’s self-backed vocals were prominent in the chorus, almost arguing with herself about a promise. A Bernie Sanders endorsement, a minor key solo complete with whammy bars galore and a “Peace, Love and Byeeee” later, the Best Coast set was done.
Wavves brought the same energy as they did at their October show at 9:30 Club. Their rapid strums, notable fast-paced rhythms and general chill surf vibe did not go unnoticed. The set had a mix of old and new, including a track never performed live before this tour, “Redlead.” With a mix of disordered rhythms, lo-fi sound and too true lyrics, Wavves made great, screechy garage rock music that has fans selling out each show, even if they just had one a few months ago.
The sincerest testament to their talent was not just the praise heard from the crowd, but the way the audience moved from the beginning of the first chord to the end of the night. The crowd—with arms flailing, hair flying and moshers, of course, moshing—had no obligation to rock that hard. It was merited.
(All Photos: Kayla Williams)