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Five thoughts on Wavves’ August 29 Boulevard Pool show

The Cosmo’s never hosted a performance quite like Wavves’ before … and probably won’t again.
Photo: Toby Acuna

1. The Boulevard Pool appeared strangely out-of-sorts for Wavves’ grungy, surf-punk set Thursday night. The outdoor pool-turned-venue was still a pool, and the turnout was fairly underwhelming. Still, true fans forced to the front, squishing themselves into the only dry area at the nose of the stage, while casual listeners caught the set from the pool’s edge.

2. Between parent chaperones, more tacos in hands than beers and an already-too-stoned girl soliciting the crowd for marijuana, Thursday’s show seemed full of firsts for the venue—and the surprises kept coming. Enamored by their band’s 65-foot image sprawled across Cosmo’s giant Strip marquee, Wavves frontman (and notorious rabble-rouser) Nathan Williams and bassist Stephen Pope took turns flashing the crowd, flipping the bird and making sexual gestures onscreen. Still, that was nothing compared to the night’s signature moment: a screen-sized Williams shoving his fingers down his throat, forcing himself to vomit and then polishing off his beer like nothing had just happened.

3. As Pope plunked away at the strings of his flying V-shaped bass, his Pepto-Bismol pink Bud Light shirt and mass of curly hair were a spectacle of their own, adding to the already lampoonish performance. Williams, dressed in an extra-large, gray tank top and ripped jeans, clearly doesn’t care what anyone thinks about his appearance or performance, and Thursday was indicative of that.

4. It took about 25 minutes for a circle pit to break out … which is 25 minutes longer than I expected. But while the energy was there, everything felt a little too safe—and too slapstick—to be taken completely seriously.

5. Wavves more or less played the same track over and over, driven by similar, grungy chord progressions, rather than the lo-fi pop-punk of their best songs. Still, a few gems were tucked here and there: Williams’ poppy “ooh-ah-oohs” brought a sweetness to otherwise angsty numbers and solid versions of “Demon to Lean On” and “King of the Beach” proved the guys are capable of taking their performance seriously when they feel like it.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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