I whole-heartedly blame the slow, tepid service of the Nandos around the corner, along with Kings Cross’ unappealing pubs, for the late entry made to the Scala for The Wave Pictures show. It was mightily disappointing to have missed the breezy West Coast-fuelled rock of Two Wounded Birds. This also wasn’t helped much by the apparent assault course of barriers barraging the entrance and the subsequent labyrinth that is the Scala, offering one too many staircases than perhaps required.
However, once the bar and stage were located the night seemed to progress nicely.
What I was in time for, was second band Mazes. Their sound is of the US 90’s indie variety, which is opened up by the steady hum of distortion as they take to the stage.
Bringing the ethos of simple, skuzzy guitars, with influences of Pavement and Guided By Voices providing a lo-fi aesthetic too. The songs are short, full of melody, energy and sound like they should be performed with more conviction than the band muster up tonight.
Being buddies with the exuberant Male Bonding and wonderful debut album A Thousand Heys being packed with energy, they seemed rather flat tonight.
They did pick themselves up for some hops about the stage for Weezer-esq ‘Bowie Knives’ and recent single ‘Most Days’, which got the gradually growing crowd interested.
Another night and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were bouncing off the walls, the record purveys all the signs for such a performance.
Tonight is headlined by The Wave Pictures though, and with their new album Beer in the Breakers recently released, you would think they would be on top of the world, right?
Well, you’d be half right.
The bluesy guitars and brushed drums pulled in the crowd and David Tattersall began the banter early – rather too truthfully describing how his brother-in-law thought “this has the same tune as I know a song that’ll get on your nerves” – talking about recent single ‘Little Surprise’ – which was not only a fair comparison, but annoyingly, remained permanently lodged in my mind for the rest of the night.
In a nice respite from the new tracks, and apparently “for Sam Noble”, they ripped into ‘Long Island’ from their Pigeon EP, which picked up the mood with it’s prolonged cowbell action that kicked back into the chorus brilliantly.
They detoured into the slow-burner ‘Walk the Back Stairs Quiet’ and the audience waited patiently as not one, but two solos ripped the energy out of the night and bassist Franic Rozycki possibly took a nap – you can’t be too sure.
It was left to the aptly described “sexy, provocative drum sounds of Johny ‘Huddersfield’ Helm” – whose drum solo and rendition of ‘Sleepy Eye’ are highlights – to rekindle the night.
There was no real big finale – but The Wave Pictures aren’t ones for big finales.
The show ends pleasantly without being entirely memorable, but I know both bands could have been so much better.