Nathan Williams has a band now, having recruited the bassist and drummer from Jay Reatard’s old band. And last night was their first American show, and it seems their first jaunt together since December. They were very good. I won’t go as far as to say that Nathan’s recaptured the raw awesomeness of WAVVES‘ first shows, where original drummer Ryan Ulsh was merely a great compliment to what everyone wanted to see anyway: Nathan. I also won’t say the new band completely drowned out Nate’s voice and guitar like WAVVES’ short-lived second drummer Zach Hill did. I will say, however, that with the addition of Stephen Pope on the bass, and Billy Hayes on the drums, WAVVES is back to again being a good live act.
The new band is real tight, and clearly adept at handling high-energy garage rock. They did after all back Memphis’ Garage Rock God, may he rest in peace. As it turns out, who better to support a genius frontman than some bros who’ve backed a different genius? It’s a bit of a perfect fit. I still prefer Ulsh’s drumming to all those who have followed, but Hayes is excellent. He really is an excellent drummer and he highlights Nathan’s vocals and guitar work, as opposed to fully drowning it out like Hill. Nate played last night like the star that made indie blogs burst in ’09.
He was at the top of his game on tracks Friends Were Gone and No Hope Kids, and even offered some new killer content called, and forgive me if the names are off, Super Soaker, Tedrahon and King of the Beach. These new songs were awesome. So good. It’s less the post-Wavvves garage rock thing Nate’s been putting out, and more of that good vintage beach rock he built his buzz on. The future looks bright for WAVVES and this new band. Hopefully Nathan doesn’t feel the need to change to a 4th drummer any time soon.
by: Brad Horenstein