Concert Review: Wavves, Skirts, Dumb Angel at Water Street


It's an interesting thing to review a show like the Wavves concert that took place at Water Street last Friday night.There are some shows that feel passive enough that being a quiet observer, lingering on the outskirts of the crowd, feels barely outside the norm. At these shows, the focus tends to be the music versus the crowd, placing the spotlight entirely on the shoulders of whomever it is that takes to the stage that night.

Then there are shows where the energy of the crowd is equally as important as the musicians who hit the stage. It’s a special thing when a band inspires their listeners to get up and get rowdy. And Friday night at Water Street, I was fortunate enough to witness such an event.

The venue was packed with excited fans from the very first act, which was Rochester’s own Dumb Angel. The band set the stage for the two follow-up acts, laying down a tight, psychedelic vibe, while combining sweet, poppy vocals with distorted, fuzzy guitars and a heavy drum beat.

Following Dumb Angel was another local act. Skirts, previously known as Meanagers, had a much different vibe than the other two bands in the lineup. Surprisingly melodic and irresistibly catchy, Skirts takes an old-school rock-and-roll vibe and somehow makes it even cooler. Frontman Hayden Ford looks, moves, and sounds like Buddy Holly (and, quite naturally, Rivers Cuomo), borrowing but not stealing from that iconic attitude and style.

The crowd was already revved up from the two fantastic opening acts when Wavves took to the stage. From the beginning of Wavves’ set, the energy of the crowd was palpable. The floor shook under the weight of a legion of devoted fans, jumping up and down, fists in the air, screaming the words to favorites like “Green Eyes” and “King of The Beach.” The majority of the band’s set consisted of old material, playing just a few songs from the recently released “Afraid of Heights.” Wavves presented a wall-of-sound quality, its separate parts barely distinguishable, even launching into noisey, jarring interludes at several points during the set. Wavves has mastered the ability to combine light, pop-punk vocals and melodies with lo-fi, heavy instrumentation.

Mid-set, a man emerged from the crowd to take a break from the action and happened upon me writing. “Are you writing an article?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“It’s getting real slimey up there! Everyone’s slimey! Putthatin your article!” he said.

I think that really says it all.