Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Wavves – Islington Mill, Salford 09/11/10

15 November 2010, 12:00 | Written by Matthew Britton

As far as buzz band cycles go, Nathan Williams could probably consider himself an elderly statesman of the hype game. Three albums in to his career and easily filling out a cold room in Salford far away from his California roots, it’s difficult to imagine that it was less than two years ago that he had yet to release an album. Now promoting his third, Williams appears at ease with himself on the stage – a far cry from the days of fighting with band members and being bottled off at Primavera (itself only a hazy 12 or so months ago).

But whilst his world has undoubtedly been turned upside down during that short space of time, the music that Williams produces has equally done so. Opening up his career with two records of difficult garage rock, his latest release has seen him slink towards a more radio friendly, pop-punk angle, a move reflected in performance. In fairness, the first two albums were unlikely to get the crowd moving in the same way that the anthemic ‘King of the Beach’ undoubtedly does, with the hoards at the front bopping in unison to bouncy, hollow beats.

Still, there’s something disappointing about watching a man who managed to make abrasive yet engaging noise rock putting on a performance that is more reminiscent of Green Day with an edge than say, a softened up HEALTH. Still, the crowd don’t seem to mind, and nor does Williams himself, laughing through his set and informing his bandmates to “suck my dick”. When he’s good, he’s still really, really good – his trademark ‘So Bored’ still managing to hit the spot through the various layers of fuzz, a relic from a time when lo-fi was still a novelty.

Perhaps this mellowing out is something that is going to happen to all the trendsetters of the end of the last decade – Williams’ girlfriend Bethany Cosentino comes to Manchester later in the month with Best Coast, here sultry 60’s pop aping album worlds away from her boundary breaking years with Pocahaunted. But still, it’s largely inoffensive and it kind of works – the Hipster Runoff posts will keep on coming, there will be another album and tour next year and we’ll all be back again, slightly older, hopefully not watching a very talented man slowly becoming Mark Hoppus. Fingers crossed.

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